State News

Evangelist Billy Graham in Fair Condition After Brain Surgery

Posted February 13, 2008 5:45 p.m. EST
Updated February 13, 2008 6:34 p.m. EST

— World-renown evangelist Billy Graham is hospitalized in fair condition after a successful surgery to update a shunt in his brain.

Doctors said the 89-year-old Graham was talking immediately after the short surgery performed Wednesday at Mission Hospitals near his home in nearby Montreat.

Graham has hydrocephalus, a buildup of fluid within the brain. The surgery replaced the valve in a shunt installed in 2000 that drains excessive fluid from Graham's brain through a small tube.

"He was bright and alert and conscious immediately after surgery and called me by name," said Dr. Ralph C. Loomis, who replaced the valve.

The tube runs down his head and neck and into the abdominal cavity, where the fluid is absorbed by his body. The new valve can be programmed externally to maintain desired fluid levels and pressure in Graham's brain.

In August, Graham, who has suffered from a variety of ailments including Parkinson's disease and age-related macular degernaterion, was hospitalized for several days for intestinal bleeding.

Throughout his six-decade career, the North Carolina native has served as a pastor and sometime political adviser to a parade of presidents. His career has taken him across the world to preach to more than 200 million people.

His wife of 64 years, Ruth Bell Graham, died June 14 after a lengthy illness.