California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger was at the centre of a health scare in the early hours of this morning (07DEC05), after he was taken to hospital with a rapid heartbeat.

Hours after the actor-turned-politician lit the Christmas tree at the state Capitol in Sacramento, he entered nearby UC Davis Medical Center at around midnight local time with the complaint.

According to his office, Schwarzenegger has the stomach flu. On the advice of his personal doctor, he went to the hospital, where doctors determined that his heart rate had returned to normal.

He was observed for a few more hours before being released.

Schwarzenegger's press secretary MARGITA THOMPSON says, "In 1997, Governor Schwarzenegger underwent surgery to repair hereditary valve dysfunction. Occasional rapid heartbeat is common following this type of surgery."

The TERMINATOR star, who has already returned to his regular working schedule, will go ahead with his planned public event at the state Capitol later today.