Israeli officials say Prime Minister Ariel Sharon will undergo a medical procedure Thursday to close a tiny hole in his heart discovered during treatment for a minor stroke suffered last month.

Doctors describe the tiny hole as a minor birth defect and say it is in the partition between the upper chambers of Mr. Sharon's heart.

The procedure, known as cardiac catheterization, involves inserting a catheter through a blood vessel into the heart, where an umbrella-like device will plug the hole. Doctors say they expect Mr. Sharon will make a full recovery.

Mr. Sharon returned to work on December 25, one week after his emergency hospitalization. Doctors say the stroke has not caused any permanent damage.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters.