Sharon expected to fully recover after stroke
Israeli leader to be hospitalized another night
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JERUSALEM (CNN) -- Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was expected to be released from the hospital on Tuesday and fully recover after a mild weekend stroke, his doctors said Monday.
"The prime minister never lost consciousness," said Prof. Tamir Ben Hur, head of neurology at Hadassah Hospital where Sharon, 77, is being treated.
"There was no slurring. He was not confused. He suffered from a certain difficulty in speaking. A small blood clot briefly blocked a blood vessel in his brain," he said. (Watch possible political ramifications of a threat to Sharon's health in the volatile Mideast -- 2:38)
Ben Hur said the clot was dissolved by medication, adding, "Our comprehensive investigation has shown definitely that the stroke will not leave any damage or traces."
He said that Sharon will remain in the hospital for another day because doctors want him to rest. "One of the reasons for him to stay another night is when he leaves [his aides] will not let him rest," Ben Hur said.
The prime minister held many of his normal meetings Monday morning, huddling with his military and government secretaries.
He was rushed to the hospital Sunday night after complaining he wasn't feeling well.
"Our tests have shown that the prime minister had a mild CVA," said Dr. Yuval Weiss, deputy director of Hadassah-Ein Kerem, using medical jargon for "cerebral vascular accident," or stroke.
During tests Sunday night, Sharon's condition improved, and he was conscious throughout the procedures, Weiss said. No invasive procedures were needed, and Sharon "is now speaking with his family" and members of his government, he said. (Read about mini-strokes)
Sharon running in March election
Sharon is running for a third term as prime minister, and many Israelis say he is the only Israeli leader capable of carrying forward peace negotiations with the Palestinians.
Israeli elections are to be held at the end of March. According to his doctors, tests show "a slight change" has occurred in Sharon's heart, which is common but can be associated with blood clots.
Prof. Jacob Naparstek, head of internal medicine at Hadassah, said Sharon will be asked to return to the hospital in two weeks for more tests on his heart.
Naparstek said doctors took advantage of the situation to run extensive tests on Sharon and found he is "not suffering from any significant health problems other than the cerebral accident."
Asked how likely it is that Sharon could suffer another stroke, Ben Hur said, "Of course he is now receiving treatment against blood clotting and has excellent chances of it not recurring."
"There's an excellent chance it won't repeat itself," Ben Hur said. "After a rest, he can return to full functioning."
Before taking ill, Sharon had completed a full day of work in his Jerusalem office that included meeting with former Labor Party leader Shimon Peres, a source said. He was headed to his ranch in the Negev Desert when he told aides he was not well and Sharon's convoy diverted to Hadassah, a hospital spokesman said.
'When can I get out of the hospital?'
Israeli news reports said Sharon was wheeled into the hospital on a stretcher, conscious but confused. Sharon's two sons arrived at the hospital shortly thereafter, as did a number of his top aides.
The prime minister's spokesman, Ra'anan Gissin, said Sharon was "fully conscious and lucid" and was conducting the affairs of the country from his bed.
"There is no need to replace the prime minister; no need to activate any procedure," said Gissin, who added that Sharon's first question to doctors was "When can I get out of the hospital?"
Calls of support for Sharon poured in from world leaders, including Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Gissin said. "All wished him Godspeed and a quick recovery."
'Death to Sharon!'
In Gaza, celebratory gunfire broke out, and Palestinians passed around candy. Some shouted, "Death to Sharon!"
Sharon earned the enmity of some Palestinians after a government commission found him indirectly responsible for the September 1982 massacre of Palestinians at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps by Lebanese Christians.
This year, he orchestrated Israel's historic pullout from Gaza in hopes of jump-starting the peace process with Palestinians.
Sharon, who is overweight, has never released his medical records. He has said he has no major medical problems.
Nicknamed "the bulldozer" for his stamina during meetings and long working hours, he had not been in ill health. The veteran military and political figure is widowed and lives alone.
He recently broke with the conservative Likud party he helped found -- which did not support his pullout from Gaza and parts of the West Bank -- and is running for re-election as head of the moderate, newly formed Kadima Party in a contest scheduled for March 28.
CNN's Shira Medding and John Vause contributed to this report.
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