Page last updated at 10:58 GMT, Monday, 27 July 2009 11:58 UK

French president leaves hospital


Mr Sarkozy campaigned for greater transparency on the president's health

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has left the Val-de-Grace military hospital in Paris, having spent the night there after collapsing while jogging.

Mr Sarkozy underwent a series of tests at the facility, but doctors found nothing untoward and said he would make full recovery, the Elysee Palace said.

The 54-year-old leader would now take a few days off to rest, it added.

He was flown to hospital after suffering a "minor" nerve complaint in the park of the Palace of Versailles.

It's not in his nature to hold himself back. He puts it like this: 'Sometimes people criticise me, saying I do too much. Me, I think I don't do enough'
Patrick Devedjian
Minister for Economic Recovery

The president, said to be on a punishing new diet and exercise regime, had gone for a run in hot weather and collapsed at around 1330 (1130 GMT), after 45 minutes of "intense physical activity".

The Elysee Palace denied he had lost consciousness, as suggested by earlier statements, saying he merely had to "lie down with the help of an aide".

A doctor who is with Mr Sarkozy at all times administered initial treatment and requested a helicopter to take him to hospital.

'Little incident'

Doctors at Val-de-Grace conducted neurological, blood and cardiological tests on Mr Sarkozy on Sunday afternoon, but found nothing untoward and predicted a full recovery, officials said.

Nicolas Sarkozy running in New York (17 July 2009)
Nicolas Sarkozy is regularly seen running and is a keen cyclist

Mr Sarkozy had suffered vasovagal syncope, a nerve condition in which exhaustion and dehydration can lead to a loss of blood pressure, the AFP news agency reported.

Patrick Devedjian, France's minister for economic recovery and a close friend of the president, said Mr Sarkozy was "doing well" on Monday morning, shortly before he was discharged.

"We get the feeling it's a little incident that could happen to anyone at some point in their life, above all when they are in tiring periods that can happen... to anyone who works a lot," he told RTL radio.

"It's not in his nature to hold himself back. He puts it like this: 'Sometimes people criticise me, saying I do too much. Me, I think I don't do enough'," he added. "He takes a lot onto himself. He's hyperactive, everyone can see that."

A technical name for the most common cause of fainting
Body's vital functions controlled by two branches of nervous system
Sympathetic nervous system tends to speed them up, while parasympathetic nervous system slows them down
If sympathetic activity is slowed down too quickly or parasympathetic activity ramped up to quickly, this can lead to a drop in blood pressure so pronounced it causes unconsciousness
Body's way of getting us to lie down, so blood can more easily be transported to vital organs
Triggered by many factors, including over-heating, hunger, standing up too quickly, stress, nausea, vomiting, and dehydration

The president is regularly seen running and is a keen cyclist.

The Elysee Palace said earlier this month that his last medical examination - on 3 July - showed "normal" results for cardiovascular and blood tests.

Shortly after his election, his first medical bulletin showed him to be in "good" health.

He campaigned for greater transparency of presidential health bulletins during his presidential campaign, yet a brief hospital stay in late 2007 for an operation on a throat abscess was not revealed until three months after it happened.

Several French presidents have been accused of glossing over health problems, notably Georges Pompidou, who died of cancer while in office in 1974, and Francois Mitterrand, who concealed that he was diagnosed with cancer in 1981, only months after first being elected.

Mr Sarkozy's predecessor, Jacques Chirac, insisted his medical and health details were private. In 2005, he was hospitalised for a week after a mini-stroke which doctors said was not serious.

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