JERUSALEM - Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was rushed to a hospital late Wednesday after feeling ill, his office said. Israeli media reported that he apparently suffered a second stroke or possibly a heart ailment.
The announcement said Sharon, 77, was taken to Jerusalem's Hadassah Hospital, where he was scheduled to undergo a procedure Thursday to close a hole in his heart that contributed to his Dec. 18 stroke.
Sharon's office said his personal physician was with him, and the Israeli leader was fully conscious. Sharon was taken to the same hospital Dec. 18.
Channel 10 News quoted Sharon's spokesman Wednesday as saying the prime minister's symptoms were not severe, and he was being taken by ambulance from his ranch in the southern Negev to the Jerusalem hospital.
Another hospital, Soroka in Beersheba, is much closer to the ranch, and Israeli media were concluding that his condition was not serious. Channel 10 said the heart procedure might be advanced.
Doctors said last month that Sharon would not suffer long-term effects from the stroke, but they discovered a birth defect in his heart that apparently contributed to the stroke. The hole measures about one-eighth of an inch.
Using a catheter inserted through a blood vessel in Sharon's groin, a team of cardiologists will put an umbrella-like device over the hole to seal it. A small camera inserted through Sharon's throat will guide the doctors.
Sharon will be under general anesthesia, and Vice Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will take over during the procedure, Sharon's office said.