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Wednesday, September 19
Zanardi undergoes more surgery
Associated Press

Alex Zanardi
BERLIN -- Star driver Alex Zanardi underwent another operation Wednesday and is expected to be brought out of an induced coma in a few days.

Zanardi's legs were amputated following a crash Saturday in a CART race. His condition has improved steadily.

"We're hoping in the next few days he will wake up," said Dr. Walter Schaffartzik, who leads the team of physicians treating the 34-year-old Italian.

"Everything is going the way we want -- he's stable. We found nothing bad at all. It doesn't look as if we should expect something serious."

Zanardi faces a fourth operation in two days, depending on his progress, to check for infection and fragments. Doctors say chances are slim he faces danger from delayed heart or liver failure because of trauma.

Schaffartzik said his team is considering when to fit Zanardi for artificial legs. His legs were amputated up to the middle of his thighs.

"It depends on how his wounds heal, but these days, the prosthetic limbs are quite good," Schaffartzik said.

Zanardi, one of the circuit's most popular drivers, lost control of his car during CART's first race in Europe. He spun backward and was hit by Canada's Alex Tagliani at 200 mph.

Zanardi also sustained a small pelvis fracture and concussion but escaped internal or head injuries.

He was placed in an induced coma to reduce the chance of organ failure, a traumatic reaction to the huge loss of tissue and muscle following his amputation.

"The longer it doesn't happen, the less chance that it will occur," Schaffartzik said.

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