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U.S. HEART SURGEON IS HEADED TO MOSCOW FOR YELTSIN’S BYPASS

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U.S. heart surgeon Michael DeBakey said Friday that he would leave for Moscow Saturday, anticipating that doctors would perform surgery on ailing Russian President Boris Yeltsin early next week.

DeBakey told Reuters that Yeltsin appeared to be ready for the bypass operation that will improve bloodflow to his heart."On the basis of what they have told me, it looks like we should be able to go ahead with the operation early next week. He's improved," he said.

DeBakey, 88, will be accompanied by a team of doctors from Houston's Methodist Hospital where he performs his surgeries. It was unclear what the other physicians would do, but DeBakey has said that he will only serve as a consultant.

Russian officials said Friday that DeBakey would not be in the operating room, but he has said that he would be.

Russian cardiologist Renat Akchurin, who trained under DeBakey at Baylor College of Medicine, will perform the operation, DeBakey said.