Martina Navratilova pulls out of climb

Updated: December 10, 2010, 3:43 PM ET
Associated Press

NAIROBI, Kenya -- Martina Navratilova was hospitalized in Kenya because of fluid accumulation in her lungs after attempting to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. The 54-year-old tennis great is expected to recover.

Navratilova was diagnosed with high-altitude pulmonary edema, Dr. David Silverstein, a consultant in cardiology and internal medicine at Nairobi Hospital, said Friday.

"It is potentially dangerous when someone is at high altitude, but once brought down, recovery is quick," he said. "Martina is doing well and will continue to do well."

Mount Kilamanjaro
Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty ImagesMartina Navratilova was diagnosed in Kenya with high-altitude pulmonary edema, but the prognosis Friday by a Nairobi Hospital doctor was good.

She is expected to spend two to three days in the hospital, Silverstein said.

Navratilova was assisted down Africa's highest peak by porters and driven to the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre. She had reached nearly 14,800 feet when forced to give up, according to the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation. She was flown to the Nairobi Hospital for more tests.

She was trying to climb the mountain in Tanzania to raise money and awareness for the sports foundation as part of a 27-person team. It faced heavy snows and mist since beginning the trek Monday up the 19,340-foot mountain.

"I'm disappointed not to be able to complete this amazing journey," Navratilova said in a statement. "It was something that I have wanted to do for so long, but it was not to be.

"I am so pleased that we got it going, and I will be watching and waiting for news from the climb when they reach the summit."

The rest of the team should reach the summit on Saturday.

Silverstein said there should be no effect on her long-term health. Navratilova was diagnosed with a noninvasive form of breast cancer in April. She worked as a commentator at the French Open and had radiation treatments in Paris in May.

"Martina's acute condition is not reflective of her health or fitness," he said. "It occurs in some people in conditions of low oxygen."

Navratilova told The Associated Press last weekend she has never climbed higher than 12,000 feet. The winner of 18 Grand Slam singles titles added at the time she was "petrified" of failing to reach the summit "because then the whole world will know."

"I'm in decent shape. I know I'm in good enough shape to get to the top, but will the altitude get me? That's something you can't predict until you get there."


Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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