Pope undergoes CT scan to rule out lung problems

Pope Francis arrives for a meeting of university chaplains, sponsored by the Dicastery for Culture and Education, in the Apostolic Palace at the Vatican Nov. 24, 2023. The next day the pope canceled his scheduled meetings because of flu-like symptoms and underwent a CAT scan to rule out pulmonary complications, the Vatican press office said. (CNS photo/Vatican Media)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis underwent a CT scan at Rome’s Gemelli Isola Hospital Nov. 25 to rule out pulmonary complications after canceling his morning appointments because of what the Vatican press office described as a slight flu.

The results of the CT scan were negative, and the pope returned to his residence, the Domus Sancte Marthae, the Vatican press office said in a note sent to reporters on the Telegram messaging app.

The pope, who will celebrate his 87th birthday Dec. 17, had undergone surgery in 1957 to remove part of one of his lungs after suffering a severe respiratory infection. He has insisted the operation has had no lasting impact on his health.

But Pope Francis was hospitalized March 29-April 1 for what doctors said was a “respiratory infection.” He tested negative for COVID-19.

Early Nov. 25, Matteo Bruni, director of the Vatican press office, issued a statement saying the pope’s appointments for the day had been canceled “due to a slight flu-like condition.”

Five hours later, he issued a statement saying the pope had gone to the hospital for the CT scan “to rule out the risk of pulmonary complications. The test was negative,” and the pope returned to his residence.

The pope had been scheduled to meet that morning with President Umaro Sissoco Embaló of Guinea Bissau.

The Vatican did not say if Pope Francis was expected to keep his usual Sunday appointed to recite the Angelus at noon Nov. 26 with visitors in St. Peter’s Square. He is scheduled to travel to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates Dec. 1-3 to address COP28, the U.N. climate change conference.

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