- ISIL creates all-female brigade to terrorize women into following Sharia law
- ISTOOK: Obama wants to be impeached
- Obama to Latin leaders: Help with border
- Military bans troops from Baptist church event honoring ‘God’s Rescue Squad’
- ‘Pocket drones’: U.S. Army developing tiny surveillance tools for the next big war
- Belgian cafe posts sign: Dogs allowed, but Jews stay out
- Gen. Dempsey: Pentagon studying Russian readiness plans not viewed ‘for 20 years’
- John McCain: Botched, two-hour execution of murderer is ‘torture’
- House GOP ready to move border bill
- Bomb squad called after live WWII artillery washes on Cape Cod beach
Cheney recuperating from heart surgery
Question of the Day
WASHINGTON — Former Vice President Dick Cheney disclosed Wednesday that he has undergone surgery to install a small pump to help his heart work, as the 69-year-old enters a new phase of what he called "increasing congestive heart failure."
"The operation went very well and I am now recuperating," a still-hospitalized Cheney said in a statement.
The kind of heart pump that Cheney received can be implanted next to the heart to help its main pumping chamber, the left ventricle, pump blood through the body. Such devices are used mainly for short periods, to buy potential transplant candidates time as they await a donor organ.
But they are being studied for use as a permanent therapy for people with severe heart failure who aren't transplant candidates.
The surgery took place last week at Inova Fairfax Heart and Vascular Institute in Washington's Northern Virginia suburbs, where Cheney was receiving care Wednesday.
A longtime face of the Republican Party, Cheney has dealt with heart problems much of his adult life, suffering five heart attacks since age 37. He said the latest step, the implanting of a pump called a left ventricular assist device, will allow him to resume an active life.
About 5 million Americans have congestive heart failure in which the heart weakens over time — often as a result of heart attacks — and cannot pump enough blood. Heart transplants are one solution, but few patients find a donor and many are too old or sick for a transplant.
The heart pump Cheney received, known as an LVAD for short, is not a cure, said Dr. Samer Najjar, medical director of the heart transplant and LVAD division at Washington Hospital Center. But by rerouting the blood to take over the job of the left ventricle, the pump relieves pressure on the heart.
And once patients recover from the open-heart surgery, they can experience a much better quality of life, said Najjar, who has had LVAD recipients go back to work or resume hobbies like bowling. Najjar had no firsthand information about Cheney's case.
The typical life expectancy of the recipient depends on whether the device is to be temporary and the person goes on to receive a heart transplant, or if the device is intended for permanent therapy. Recent studies suggest that 63 percent of patients who receive a permanent LVAD can survive two years, Najjar said. Those awaiting a heart transplant tend to have a slightly higher survival.
The details of Cheney's scenario were not immediately available.
"The expectation is he is going to have an improved quality of life for some time to come," Najjar said.
Cheney said a few weeks ago it became clear he was "entering a new phase of the disease when I began to experience increasing congestive heart failure."
Late last month, Cheney was admitted to George Washington University Hospital for a few days after reporting he was not feeling well. In that episode, he ultimately received medication to treat a fluid buildup related to his aggressive form of heart disease.
On Wednesday, Cheney said that after testing and consultation with doctors, he underwent surgery last week to install the heart pump. The former vice president offered thanks to those who have kept him and his family in their thoughts.
Former Vice President Dick Cheney says he underwent heart surgery last week and is recuperating.
In a statement, Cheney said he had been experiencing increasing congestive heart failure and after consultations with his doctors, he had received an implantable pump to improve heart function. He said the operation went well and he is recuperating.
The 69-year-old Cheney has a long history of heart disease. Cheney's heart attack earlier this year was his fifth since age 37.
TWT Video Picks
Second- and third-stringers eye 2016 if front-runner stumbles
- NAPOLITANO: What if our democracy is a fraud?
- ISTOOK: Obama wants to be impeached
- 'Pocket drones': U.S. Army developing tiny spies for the next big war
- 'We're coming for you, Barack Obama': Top U.S. official discloses threat from ISIL terrorists
- Michelle Obama says money in politics is bad, asks donors for 'big, fat check'
- Ted Nugent loses second casino gig for 'racist remarks'
- Russia shipping sophisticated weapons systems to Ukraine separatists
- EDITORIAL: Detroit's water 'spigot bigots'
- Obama orders Pentagon advisers to Ukraine
- Let it roll: D.C. Council hits Las Vegas on taxpayer's dime, leaves $14,000 tab
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq