Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd will return to his job with plenty of ticker after undergoing successful heart surgery on Monday.
His wife anticipates it will be difficult to keep him quiet during his two months of recovery.
“Our present challenge is not really that he won’t recover with more energy than he’s had before, but rather my challenge is to keep him as still as possible for as long as possible,” Therese Rein said after her husband’s surgery.
The 53-year-old had an operation to replace a leaky aortic valve that was inserted almost 20 years ago.
Mr Rudd’s original valve was replaced because of the effects of rheumatic fever he suffered as a child.
Doctors considered Monday’s surgery routine and cardiologist Dr Malcolm Davison said the four-hour operation at Brisbane’s St Andrews War Memorial Hospital was a success.
“At this stage we’re extremely pleased with his progress,” he said.
“The surgery has gone according to plan and he is in a stable and very satisfactory situation.”
The new heart valve comes from a cow and is expected to last another 15 to 20 years.
Mr Davison said the foreign minister would likely remain unconscious on a ventilator until Monday evening or Tuesday morning.
He will be discharged from hospital in seven to 10 days and take eight weeks to recover fully from the surgery.
Mr Rudd’s three children joined his wife at the hospital during the surgery.
Ms Rein thanked the medical staff and wider community for their support.
The former prime minister received well wishes from his political friends and foes alike.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard said she had spoken to Mr Rudd and gave her best wishes for a speedy recovery.
“He’s got a real sense of confidence having been through it before,” she told ABC Radio.
The foreign minister’s opposition counterpart Julie Bishop said, knowing Mr Rudd, “he will be back up, out and about, as energetic as ever”.