Vice President Cheney Gets a New Heart

Dick Cheney recovers following heart transplant

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Former Vice President Dick Cheney is recovering at a Virginia hospital following a heart transplant on Saturday. His office made the announcement Sunday.

The 71-year-old has previously suffered five heart attacks. In 2010, he also had a left ventricular assist device implanted to treat his end stage heart failure.

Heart muscle dies during a heart attack, and as the damaged area grows the heart has difficulty pumping blood, which can lead to congestive heart failure.

Cheney is recovering in the intensive care unit at Inova Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church, VA. Cheney had been on the heart transplant waiting list for more than 20 months prior to the procedure.

In a statement his office said that while "his family do not know the identity of the donor, they will be forever grateful for this lifesaving gift."

The pump he had implanted about two years ago to help his heart in pumping was one of few options available to keep him alive. The left ventricular assist devices are mostly used for short periods of time while individuals are awaiting a heart transplant.

He had announced in January 2011 that he was unsure as to whether he would seek a heart transplant, though he said the heart pump made walking awkward.

However, Cheney has a long history of cardiovascular disease. His first heart attack was at the age of 37. In 1988, he underwent quadruple bypass surgery.

Then in 2005, he received an operation on his legs to repair an aneurysm. In 2007, he has a minor surgery to replace a device used to monitor his heart beat. One month after that procedure, physicians found that he had deep vein thrombosis in his left lower leg.

Cheney, a Republican, served as vice president under President George W. Bush, with his 8-year term ending in 2009.

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
March 24, 2012
Last Updated:
March 25, 2012