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Thai king improving after operation

BANGKOK (AFP) – Thailand’s ailing King Bhumibol Adulyadej is recovering well after a recent operation to improve blood flow to his heart, the palace said, the latest in a series of major medical procedures for the 88-year-old.

Bhumibol is the object of an intense personality cult and his frail health is a matter of significant public concern.

On Tuesday doctors performed a series of angioplasty procedures without anesthetic, using balloons and stents to widen multiple arteries in his heart.

In the latest update on his health released by the palace late Sunday, doctors said the king was making progress with blood pressure and breathing back to normal.

An electrocardiogram also showed improved blood flow to the heart, the statement added. The king is confined to a wheelchair and rarely seen in public.

He has spent most of the past two years hospitalized in Bangkok for a series of ailments, including bacterial infections, breathing difficulties and hydrocephalus (water on the brain).