Updated May. 12, 2014 06:14
Lee Kun-hee, chairman of Samsung Electronics, received cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) due to symptoms of cardiac arrest Saturday night.
According to Samsung Group on Sunday, Chairman Lee suffered sudden short breath at around 11 p.m. on Saturday at his residence in Hannam-dong in Seouls Yongsan district, and was taken to the emergency room at nearby Soon Chun Hyang University Hospital. Soon after arrival at the hospital, the 72-year-old tycoon was diagnosed with acute cardiac infarction, and received CPR due to signs of cardiac arrest.
Lee, who received lung and lymphoid cancer surgery in the U.S. in 1999, stays overseas with warm weather and clean air in the winter season due to compromised respiratory health. He was also hospitalized once due to respiratory illness. However, it is reportedly the first time that he has shown symptoms of cardiac arrest.
Lee received endobronchial procedure to expand his respiratory tract at Soon Chun Hwang, and was moved to Samsung Medical Center in Seouls Gangnam district around 0:15 a.m. on Sunday, when his conditions improved. At the hospital, Lee took stent insertion procedure that broadens blood vessels in the heart.
According to Samsung, Lee is taking extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (or ECMO) procedure, which is tried on a patient with deteriorated heart and lung functions. ECMO uses equipment that substitutes the functions of a patients heart and lung, and is a procedure in which blood is streamed out of the body from the vein, converted into arterial blood and re-injected into the patient.
It is too early to comment on how long Chairman Lee will remain hospitalized, but early treatment and the procedure were done successfully, Samsung said. Currently, his heart function has improved, and he is taking medicinal and fluid treatment, with ECMO soon to be removed.
Lee left Korea after a New Years Day event early this year and stayed in the U.S. and Japan before returning home on April 17. Five days later, he went to his office at Samsung Electronics building in Seouls Seocho district, and until recently has been spreading the message on Mach management, a hot topic in management, and handling in person business reshuffles among Samsung affiliates, and personnel revamp at the conglomerates Future Strategy Office in person.
Lees son, Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Jae-yong, who was on overseas business trip, returned to Korea Sunday morning upon hearing his hospitalization. Key officials of Samsung Group including Future Strategy Office and subsidiaries entered emergency operation mood.
Majority of people in and outside Samsung say that despite Lees deteriorating health, there are no special factors of crises. Samsung is a company that has maintained since long ago a business structure, in which business operates properly according to systems as long as Chairman Lee sets up main strategy and makes decisions, said a source in the business community. Chances are slim that the company will face a worrisome crisis situation.