Good news for Cheney in annual checkup

July 12, 2008 3:05:01 PM PDT
Vice President Dick Cheney got good news Saturday from doctors who said his heart was beating normally for a 67-year-old man who has had four heart attacks. "The vice president's cardiac status remains stable," Cheney press secretary Megan Mitchell said after the nearly two-hour annual checkup.

Doctors at George Washington University Hospital gave Cheney a physical exam and an electrocardiogram, which is a test that detects and records the electrical activity of the heart, Mitchell said. They also took images of stents that were placed in arteries in the back of his knees when Cheney underwent surgery in September 2005 to repair an arterial aneurysm.

Last year's checkup was not as good for the vice president, who has had quadruple bypass surgery and two artery-clearing angioplasties.

At that exam on June 8, 2007, doctors found no new blockages in his heart from the year before, but said he needed a new battery for a special pacemaker he has in his chest. The vice president had surgery the following month to replace the implanted device that monitors his heartbeat.

Then, in November 2007, doctors had to administer an electrical shock to Cheney's heart to restore it to a normal rhythm. The irregular heartbeat was determined to be atrial fibrillation, an abnormal rhythm involving the upper chambers of the heart. White House doctors discovered the irregular heartbeat when they were treating him for a lingering cough from a cold.

At this most recent checkup, doctors found that Cheney had not experienced any recurrence of atrial fibrillation. They also found that the special pacemaker had neither detected nor treated any arrhythmia, a problem with the heartbeat's speed or rhythm.

After his exam, Cheney returned to the vice president's residence at the Naval Observatory and resumed his normal schedule.

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