SINGAPORE: Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s tests at the Singapore General Hospital (SGH) “were all normal”, Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan said.
Mr Lee took ill during the National Day Rally on Sunday (Aug 21) after he had a brief fainting spell. He returned to conclude his speech an hour later, then headed to SGH for a full medical check-up. On the advice of doctors, Mr Lee will be on medical leave until Aug 29, said the Prime Minister's Office. Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean will cover his duties in his absence.
In a Facebook post on Monday, Dr Balakrishnan, who is an ophthalmologist by training, said that Mr Lee had had a vasovagal episode.
A vasovagal episode occurs when the part of the nervous system that regulates heart rate and blood pressure malfunctions in response to a trigger. Common triggers include standing for long periods of time and heat exposure. Individuals may experience light-headedness, blurred vision and break out in a cold, clammy sweat, before briefly losing consciousness.
“When we rushed up on stage, we found PM Lee fully conscious but having classic symptoms and signs - sweatiness, low heart rate and low blood pressure,” Dr Balakrishnan said.
“The initial light headedness resolved within minutes, and I knew he just wanted to get back on stage to complete his speech. Whilst the initial tests were being done, he was busy re-editing his speech!” he added.
After Mr Lee finished his speech, he headed to SGH for more tests before calling it a night at around 1.30am, Dr Balakrishnan said.
“Let us all count our blessings, and continue to do our best. There is still so much more to be done. Hope PM got a good night’s rest. He deserves it!”
President Tony Tan Keng Yam also posted on Facebook after he spoke to Mr Lee on Monday afternoon.
"Spoke with PM this afternoon, after his brief fainting spell last evening during his National Day Rally speech. PM was his usual jovial self," Dr Tan wrote.
He added that PM had a busy schedule recently, and that the preparation for the National Day Rally "took a toll on him".
"On behalf of all Singaporeans, I wish PM well."