Chavez Back in Venezuela, Stirs Succession Talk

February 20, 2013

An article from the Associated Press reports on Hugo Chavez's sudden return to Venezuela after more than two months of cancer treatments in Cuba. The move has caused speculation that the president could be preparing to relinquish power and make way for a successor and a new election. Officials have confirmed that Chavez is breathing through a tracheal tube, but it's unclear if he is breathing on his own or is relying on a ventilator. "It is possible that he has a tracheostomy without being ventilator-dependent, although it isn't clear why that would be the case," said Steve Hahn, MD, Henry K. Pancoast Professor and chair of Radiation Oncology. Hahn, who is not involved in Chavez's treatment, said swallowing usually becomes difficult, though not impossible, for patients who have undergone the procedure and have a hole in the windpipe. Hahn said that given Chavez's treatment regimen and evolution, he could have a low-grade sarcoma that is continuing to come back.

Read the full Associated Press article