Heart muscle ailment found


Carlos Benjamin Alvarez, personal cardiologist to Diego Maradona, said yesterday that the controversial former Argentinean footballer was suffering from a severe muscular heart ailment brought on by cocaine abuse.

Alvarez said that cocaine abuse would cause circulation problems in the heart.

"That can engender all sorts of problems from a heart attack to ischaemia (a reduction of blood supply)," said Alvarez, who runs the Sacred Heart clinic in Buenos Aires, where Maradona (39), is undergoing treatment after his latest drugs problems.

Alvarez told Argentine radio that Maradona would have to undergo a range of extensive tests before he could judge the seriousness of the problem.

Alfredo Cahe, Maradona's neurologist, meanwhile told the local media that Maradona appeared to have resigned himself to a long battle. The specialist said over the past year Maradona had "suffered from deep depression because of stimulants".

Maradona last week spent five days in a Uruguayan clinic following an alleged cocaine overdose. He was flown back to Argentina last Sunday but the Uruguayans want him to return following treatment to give evidence to their investigators.