CAIRO – Hosni Mubarak’s health sharply deteriorated Wednesday, days after he was sentenced to life in prison, and specialists were evaluating whether to transfer him to a better-equipped hospital outside the penal system, security officials said.

The deposed leader’s health scare added to the uncertainty engulfing Egypt, where powerful political groups are seeking to bar Mubarak’s former prime minister from the presidential runoff and derail the election.

Officials at Cairo’s Torah prison said the 84-year-old Mubarak’s condition had moved to a “dangerous” phase and that doctors administered oxygen five times to help him breathe. He was also suffering from shock, high blood pressure and severe depression, according to the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

Mubarak was being treated in the prison hospital’s intensive care unit, which recently underwent a $1 million renovation to prepare for his arrival, the officials said. He was the only patient in the five-bed ICU ward.

Dr. Hamdi el-Sayyed, who has treated Mubarak over the last decade, said imprisonment in Torah was “inhumane” given his age and poor health.

It was not immediately possible to independently verify the gravity of Mubarak’s condition. But the ex-leader’s health has been an issue in recent years.

He was treated in 2010 for cancer of the gallbladder and pancreas, and his lawyer said after his arrest in April 2011 that it might have spread to his stomach. Officials denied the claim at the time.

Still, the ousted leader was ordered held in a military hospital after a government-appointed panel of physicians determined in May 2011 that he was too ill to be held in prison while awaiting trial, saying he suffered from heart trouble and had tumors in his pancreas removed. It did not say whether the tumors were malignant.