- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 24, 2005


Vice President Dick Cheney underwent successful surgery yesterday to repair aneurysms on the back of both knees. He was alert and comfortable after the six-hour operation, his spokesman said.

Mr. Cheney, who has a history of heart problems, was under local anesthesia during the surgery at George Washington University Hospital.

“He will remain in the hospital for up to 48 hours to monitor his recovery. He is expected to resume a regular schedule when he is released to home,” said Steve Schmidt, counselor to the vice president.

After the operation, Mr. Cheney was “awake, alert, comfortable,” Mr. Schmidt said. The vice president was expected to be briefed on the impact of Hurricane Rita later yesterday.

An aneurysm is a ballooning weak spot in an artery that, as blood pulses through, eventually can burst if left untreated. The condition was discovered during Mr. Cheney’s annual physical in July.

Mr. Cheney had been scheduled to have only the right knee operated on yesterday, but his doctors decided to do both at once, Mr. Schmidt said. There were no complications.

Mr. Cheney had flexible stent grafts put in his knee arteries.

“Placement of the device in the right knee artery went exceedingly smoothly and an intra-operative decision was made to repair the aneurysm behind the left knee using a similar technique,” Mr. Schmidt said.

During the procedure, the stent graft is threaded through a catheter inserted in the femoral artery at the groin down to the aneurysm site. Fully opened, it’s like a little tube inside the artery, keeping the rushing blood from touching the weakened artery walls.

This is a newer technique for patching aneurysms, and an alternative to rerouting blood flow around the weak spot with a vein bypass.

Mr. Cheney, 64, has had four heart attacks, quadruple bypass surgery, two artery-clearing angioplasties and an operation to implant a pacemaker in his chest.

A vascular exam, part of a two-part annual physical Mr. Cheney completed in July, identified “small, dilated segments of the arteries behind both knees.” The aneurysms, known as popliteal aneurysms, are not considered life-threatening.

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