- The Washington Times - Sunday, November 14, 2004

Vice President Dick Cheney went to the hospital yesterday after experiencing shortness of breath. The visit, aides said, was a precaution, given his history of heart problems.

Mr. Cheney left George Washington University Hospital with his wife, Lynne, about three hours after arriving by motorcade, telling reporters, “I feel fine.”

Mr. Cheney, 63, who has had four heart attacks, underwent tests to make sure the shortness of breath was related only to a bad cold, aides said.

Mary Matalin, acting as a spokeswoman for the vice president, said Mr. Cheney came down with a cold that left him with shortness of breath after he returned Thursday from a hunting trip in South Dakota. He did not need an ambulance and “was doing this just as a precaution,” Mrs. Matalin said.

During the run-up to the presidential election on Nov. 2, Mr. Cheney dismissed speculation that his history of heart problems might prevent him from serving a second term as vice president. There were no reports that he was ailing during the intense months of campaigning or during the final weeks of the close election.

Mr. Cheney’s latest heart attack occurred almost exactly four years ago, when he was 59, about two weeks after the protracted and chaotic 2000 presidential election. At the time, the vice president underwent angioplasty after a coronary stent (a small, perforated stainless-steel tube) that had been inserted into one of his blocked blood vessels failed.

In March 2001, doctors performed another angioplasty, a surgical repair or replacement of a blood vessel. After the incident, Mr. Cheney reportedly quit smoking and began exercising regularly.

His heart problems stem to 1978, when Mr. Cheney, then 37 and a heavy smoker, had his first heart attack. He had a second one in 1984 and a third in 1988.

After the third heart attack, he underwent quadruple-bypass surgery to clear clogged arteries.

Ken Lisaius, a White House spokesman, said that Mr. Cheney yesterday experienced “some shortness of breath. In addition, he has had a bad cold, which could be the cause [of] that shortness of breath.”

“But, taking every precaution, as anyone with his history should do, he’s having it checked out,” said Mr. Lisaius, adding that the vice president’s “longtime cardiologist, Dr. Jonathan Reiner, will be overseeing those tests.”

• This article is based in part on wire-service reports.

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