A senior Soviet official has confirmed that President Leonid Brezhnev was hospitalized after an ''accident'' at a factory he visited last month, but denied Western reports the Soviet leader had suffered a stroke.
The official suggested that the President, who appeared in public April 22 for the first time in four weeks, was recovering well. Mr. Brezhnev is tentatively expected to keynote a congress of the Communist Party youth organization in late May, the source said.
The unprecedentedly detailed official account of Mr. Brezhnev's health for a Western news outlet came on the heels of the president's first public appearance in four weeks, and seemed aimed partly at countering Western reports suggesting Mr. Brezhnev's condition had been critical.
The Soviet official, in an hour-long conversation with the Monitor April 23, also went some way toward confirming reports that a Brezhnev Politburo colleague , Andrei Kirilenko, was ill.
The Soviet source sits on the Communist Party Central Committee and is in regular contact with members of the Politburo and Central Committee Secretariat.
''President Brezhnev was in the hospital,'' the official said. ''He got out about a week or so back.''
According to the official, Mr. Brezhnev was hospitalized on his return to Moscow in late April from a visit to the Asian republic of Uzbekistan. ''There was an accident in a factory he was visiting. He fell down and hurt himself.
''He hurt his arm. He was given preventive injections and continued his (Uzbekistan) program,'' the official said.
He said that in light of Mr. Brezhnev's age, the president had ''naturally'' undergone various tests in the hospital, but had also done some work during his stay.
The official gave no further details of the factory accident, but earlier reports from unofficial Soviet sources said a platform had collapsed with a crash during Mr. Brezhnev's visit and that an alarmed aide or bodyguard had bundled the president to the ground.