British Prime Minister Tony Blair has been admitted to a London hospital to be treated for a heart problem.

Blair will undergo a procedure to correct an irregular heartbeat under local anaesthetic at Hammersmith Hospital.

Doctors insist the catheter ablation is a simple technique carried out on thousands of patients each year. A wire will be inserted through veins into the heart cavity, allowing doctors to "map" the disorder. Energy pulses are then sent down the wires to correct the rhythm.

The Prime Minister spoke last night (30SEP04) about the "flutters" he has suffered for the last few months.

He said, "It's not particularly alarming but it's just something you should get fixed and so it's what they call a routine procedure that'll be done tomorrow (Friday).

"I've actually had it (the"flutter") for the last couple of months and it's obviously not impeded me doing my work and feeling fine but it's as well to get it done."

Blair is expected to spend tonight (01OCT04) in hospital and could be back to work as early as Monday (4OCT04).

01/10/2004 09:30