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Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 March 2008, 18:44 GMT
Cardinal O'Brien gets pacemaker
Cardinal Keith O'Brien
Cardinal O'Brien has had a heart murmur since his twenties
The leader of the Roman Catholic Church in Scotland has had a pacemaker fitted following recent heart problems.

Cardinal Keith O'Brien was fitted with the device under local anaesthetic at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

The 70-year-old, who suffers from a heart murmur, had experienced dizzy spells in recent weeks and fainted prior to Palm Sunday mass.

Despite the health scare he intends to resume all his current duties and engagements as soon as he is well.

Peter Kearney, spokesman for the Catholic Church in Scotland, confirmed that Cardinal O'Brien had been admitted to hospital.

"He does suffer from a heart murmur which he has had since his twenties and on medical advice had a pacemaker fitted under local anaesthetic this afternoon," he said.

The cardinal, who is Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh, intends to keep all his engagements in coming weeks, Mr Kearney added.

On Friday he will attend a public meeting to campaign against the government's Fertilisation and Embryology Bill.

At his Easter Sunday mass the cardinal accused Prime Minister Gordon Brown of "an unprecedented attack on the sanctity and dignity of human life", and warned the research could lead to experiments of "Frankenstein proportions".

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