Evangelist Franklin Graham on Tuesday revealed he underwent specialized heart surgery the previous day and expects a full recovery, including preaching throughout the world in 2022.
Graham, 69, had developed pericarditis, which involves “swelling and irritation of the thin, saclike tissue surrounding” the heart, according to the Mayo Clinic. That tissue is the pericardium.
Although pericarditis is typically mild and goes away, surgery is required in rare cases – as was the case with Graham.
The surgery took place at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.
“I had developed constrictive pericarditis, which is inflammation and hardening of the sac around the heart that compresses the heart and prevents it from working properly,” Graham wrote on Facebook. “The surgery involved removing the pericardium, and we thank God that it went well.”
“The team here at Mayo Clinic does such an incredible job – I couldn’t speak more highly of them. My doctors said I should expect a full recovery and will be able to return to my normal ministry schedule.”
Graham is scheduled to preach next year in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (June 11), St. Petersburg, Russia (July 9-10), Milan, Italy (Oct. 29) and New Zealand (November). His ministry events are called “Festivals.”
“I look forward to many opportunities around the world in 2022 to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and invite people to put their faith and trust in Him,” he said. “I’m also looking forward to being able to ride my motorcycle by the time warm weather hits! I appreciate everyone’s prayers.”
According to the Mayo Clinic website, pericarditis often causes “sharp chest pain and sometimes other symptoms.”
“The chest pain occurs when the irritated layers of the pericardium rub against each other,” the website says. “… Pericarditis is usually mild and goes away without treatment. Treatment for more-severe cases may include medications and, rarely, surgery. Early diagnosis and treatment may help reduce the risk of long-term complications from pericarditis.”
Graham is president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Pool
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.