Former Vice-President Cheney Undergoes Heart Transplant Surgery

Former Vice-President Dick Cheney, who suffered the first of five heart attacks at the age of 37 and in 2010 was implanted with a device to assist his heart with pumping blood, underwent a heart transplant today at a hospital in Virginia:

Former President Dick Cheney received a heart transplant on Saturday, his office announced.

A statement from the former vice president’s office said Cheney is now recovering in the Intensive Care Unit of Inova Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church, Va., outside of Washington.

The statement said Cheney had been on the transplant list for 20 months and did not know the identity of the donor.

“Although the former Vice President and his family do not know the identity of the donor, they will be forever grateful for this lifesaving gift,” the statement read.

Reports on cable news indicate that Cheney has actually been on the donor list for a heart transplant for nearly two years. In any case, politics aside, here’s hoping  the former V.P. does well through what will be a difficult recovery period.

Further details from The New York Times:

WASHINGTON (AP) — Former Vice President Dick Cheney had a heart transplant Saturday and is recovering at a Virginia hospital, his office said.

An aide to Cheney disclosed that the 71-year-old, who has had a long history of cardiovascular trouble including numerous heart attacks, had been waiting for a transplant for more than 20 months.

“Although the former vice president and his family do not know the identity of the donor, they will be forever grateful for this lifesaving gift,” aide Kara Ahern said in a written statement that was authenticated by several of the Republican politician’s close associates.

Cheney was recovering Saturday night at the Intensive Care Unit of Inova Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church, Va., after surgery earlier in the day.

The former vice president suffered a heart attack in 2010, his fifth since the age of 37. That year, he had surgery to have a small pump installed to help his heart keep working. It was one of the few steps left, short of a transplant, to stay alive in the face of what he acknowledged was “increasing congestive heart failure.”

The pump, called a left ventricular assist device, is mainly used for short periods to buy time for potential transplant candidates awaiting a donor organ. The fact that doctors resorted to it illustrated the perilous condition he was in.

In July 2007, he had had a minor surgical procedure to replace a device that monitored his heartbeat. Nearly 20 years earlier, in 1988, Cheney had had quadruple bypass surgery, and had two artery-clearing angioplasties and the operation to implant the device.

In 2005, Cheney had six hours of surgery on his legs to repair a kind of aneurysm, and in March 2007, doctors discovered deep venous thrombosis in his left lower leg. An ultrasound a month later showed the clot was getting smaller.

In January 2011, Cheney said he was getting by on a battery-powered heart pump, which made it “awkward to walk around.” He also said he hasn’t made a decision yet on a transplant, but that “the technology is getting better and better.”

Cheney said then that he’d “have to make a decision at some point whether I want to go for a transplant.”

And that decision was made.

FILED UNDER: Quick Takes, US Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. An Interested Party says:

    With the advances in Imperial cybernetic technology, I’m sure he’ll come out of this just fine…

  2. G.A. says:

    Damn! No dancing on the grave tonight.Well you libs can always pray…oh wait…..

  3. G.A. says:

    Oh ya, nice pic too Doug……..

  4. Neil Hudelson says:

    does age ever become a factor in whether or not one is eligible?

  5. James says:

    So, there was no young person with a long life ahead of them to give this rare organ to?

  6. G.A. says:

    Oh I should not be saying that the libs HERE AND AROUYD THE WORLD would dance on his gave or be mad that he made it, ya whatever voter dude…..

  7. G.A. says:

    does age ever become a factor in whether or not one is eligible?

    damn bro…

  8. G.A. says:

    So, there was no young person with a long life ahead of them to give this rare organ to?

    I rest my case….

  9. @G.A.:

    I am sure you and your fellow conservatives will be respectful when Jimmy Carter dies.

    Oh, who am I kidding?

  10. @Neil Hudelson:

    My understanding is that the primary factor in determining transplant priority is the seriousness of the patients condition and the time a (potentially) compatible organ becomes available.

  11. Ben Wolf says:

    @Doug Mataconis: I’ve been told age plays a factor as well, as in all other things being equal a fifty-year old gets priority over a man of seventy-five.

  12. @Ben Wolf:

    I would think so. I’m sure we’ll hear more details about all of this, probably including the identity of the donor at some point

  13. Anonne says:

    I doubt that we will ever learn the donor’s identity, and nor do I think that we should, honestly.

  14. cmorholt says:
  15. michael reynolds says:

    What do they do with the lump of coal they took out of him?

  16. Franklin says:

    Yeah, there’s got to be a good joke here somewhere. How can it be a ‘transplant’ if he didn’t have one in the first place?

  17. Wow. I expected some hatred at liberal sites, but not OTB. Pretty sad.

  18. PJ says:

    @William Teach:
    What hatred? The comments are pretty mild.

  19. DRS says:

    Don’t you mean “heart implant surgery”?

  20. Jenos Idanian says:

    @William Teach: I’ve observed that if someone gets in ahead of the liberals with a pre-emptive strike, they tend to behave themselves. G.A. kind of ruined the party. Some are still trying, but (pardon the expression) their heart just isn’t in it.

    G.A., if you’d just shut up and waited, you’d probably have your hate-fest going on. You stepped on it, dude.

  21. PJ says:

    G.A., William Teach, and Jenos Idanian all have, instead of posting comments for example wishing Cheney a speedy recovery, posted about how liberals will dance on Cheney’s grave, arguing that this thread is full of hate, and finally arguing that the lack of hate is due to pre-emtive strikes.

    Pathetic.

  22. Neil Hudelson says:

    @G.A.:

    Was there a problem with my inquiry about how transplants are rated? At any point did i express hatred or animosity towards the VP’s fortune at receiving a second lease on life?

    Or would you just like to project hatred when its not there based on your own prejudices?

  23. Gustopher says:

    If only Obamacare actually included death panels, this travesty never would have happened.

  24. Kit says:

    I’m surprised that no one brought up this Onion classic from years back:
    New Heart Device Allows Cheney To Experience Love

  25. Jenos Idanian says:

    @PJ: I said something kind about Cheney just the other day here… and was thoroughly criticized about it. I don’t see much purpose in my expressing my good wishes to him in this forum.

    I am sorry A.J. jumped the gun. I would have found the anti-Cheney venom entertaining.

  26. PJ says:

    @Jenos Idanian:
    You’re daily being criticized about your comments on OTB and yet that hasn’t stopped you from writing, has it? You still see a purpose in those comments, don’t you?
    But Cheney has major surgery and all you do is bashing others?
    Maybe wishing him well would have been about setting, in your view, a good example?

    Your reaction to this is still pathetic.

  27. G.A. says:

    I am sure you and your fellow conservatives will be respectful when Jimmy Carter dies.

    I wish Jimmy nothing but good health….And to imply that I would dance his grave for a moral equivalence…Well I guess that’s what libs do. No I know that’s what libs do.
    It is what OTB has become,mostly, an apologist for vile leftist behaviour and thought.
    https://www.outsidethebeltway.com/andrew-breitbart-dead-at-43/

    ya I am still not to happy about this….So much for letting commenter’s comments judge the commenters, hey Doug…

    Or would you just like to project hatred when its not there based on your own prejudices?

    I am projecting what?And what are my prejudices?

    I’ll project,>>>>>You want a position on Obama’s death panel so you can deny organs to old white conservative people because you hate old white conservative people and want them to DIE>>>>>.

    You want me to keep going….or can we stop at you got mad at me for making a harmless joke about a fat cat one day when he died and perhaps I was thinking you was better than asking questions then the one you did at the time you did.

  28. michael reynolds says:

    @PJ:
    They see what they want t see. It’s what makes them what they are.

  29. Liberal Capitalist says:

    You know… I’m sure there is a Dick joke there somewhere…

  30. OzarkHillbilly says:

    I guess I can’t call him a “Heartless SOB” anymore.

  31. Herb says:

    @G.A.:

    “It is what OTB has become,mostly, an apologist for vile leftist behaviour and thought.”

    Yeah, you apologist, you! (As the self-styled troll in these parts, I’d say you’re paying more attention to the comments than the posts. A lot of lefties in comments…pushing back sometimes, being jerks others, but where’s the lefty apologist with the byline?)

    I am neither surprised nor scandalized by this. We tend to take care of our presidents and vice presidents. After waiting 20 months, I don’t think anyone could say Cheney got moved up before a more worthy person. Sounds like he was waiting in line like everyone else. I’m also not worried about his advanced age or the pre-existing conditions. What am I, an insurance company?

    Hypothetical question: If doctors can deny contraception based on their conscience, should they also be able to deny heart transplants? Imagine a doctor refusing to provide Cheney a heart transplant and offering instead a lecture on the evils of warmongering. Would he have a point?

    (Me? I say NO.)

  32. Neil Hudelson says:

    Anyone want to attempt to translate G.A.’s last post?

  33. Hey Norm says:

    So…who paid for this?

  34. G.A. says:

    They see what they want t see. It’s what makes them what they are.

    how profound….

    Anyone want to attempt to translate G.A.’s last post?

    I would, but it won’t do any good…

    Harry, speaking of lumps of coal, where did they put the hair that should be there?

    Yeah, you apologist, you! (As the self-styled troll in these parts, I’d say you’re paying more attention to the comments than the posts. A lot of lefties in comments…pushing back sometimes, being jerks others, but where’s the lefty apologist with the byline?)

    What ? lol, I have been the self styled crap loads of things around here…among other stuff. I variate now depending on what mood I am in or what mood you guys put me in.I admit to sucking most of the time but its hard to act cool around a lot of you.

    You know what really sucks? I love every one of you except for sam, lol…Pray for you too sometimes except for sam….

    And I see that cognitive reading and writing skills still blow but how come no grade on my grammar and spelling lately? Or was that a como grade:) I learn a lot from you guys, truly….

    ok ok I will now call for civility again and I will do my dangdist to do it, truly…

  35. Have a nice G.A. says:

    I will do my dangdist to do literacy and civility…..So help me Obama…

  36. Tlaloc says:

    I am sure you and your fellow conservatives will be respectful when Jimmy Carter dies.

    Doug, it’s pretty grotesque to put those two in any thing even close to the same category. Cheney is a man with the blood of thousands on his hands who has expressly said he doesn’t give a fuck who he hurt. Carter was a generally well meaning simpleton who’s spent his decades since being president building houses for the homeless and generally trying to support peace world wide.

    There’s simply no conceivable way to compare the two.

    And yes, G.A. I will be plenty pleased when that bloodsucker is dead and buried. He has made the world worse by his presence.

  37. Hey Norm says:

    9.11 happened on his watch. And he responded in the absolute worst way he could. That’s enough for anyone to bear.
    I just want to know if this rich Republican was treated by the private sector, or if he was saved by Socialist medicine.

  38. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Herb: Hypothetical question: If doctors can deny contraception based on their conscience, should they also be able to deny heart transplants? Imagine a doctor refusing to provide Cheney a heart transplant and offering instead a lecture on the evils of warmongering. Would he have a point?

    Stupid question. The contraception issue is based on the doctor’s personal beliefs about the medical procedure itself, not on the individual receiving it. On the other hand, doctors are never supposed to make moral judgments of their patents before treating them. It’s part of the Hippocratic Oath to not make such judgments, but to treat all who need it.

    Oddly enough, the classic version of the Oath includes this interesting paragraph:

    I will give no deadly medicine to any one if asked, nor suggest any such counsel; and similarly I will not give a woman a pessary to cause an abortion.

    No euthanasia, no abortions. Doctors, it seems, should never be administrators of death.

  39. Herb says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    On the other hand, doctors are never supposed to make moral judgments of their patents before treating them.”

    Ah, yes……that’s why they want their moral judgments to trump US law and industry practice. Because they’re, how’d it go again, NEVER supposed to make moral judgments…….

    Except when they’re talking about birth control. Then it’s “my poor moral conscience.”

  40. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Herb: You’re really cranking the stupid up to 11, aren’t you?

    You’re actually saying that you don’t see a difference between “I won’t do that for anyone” and ‘I won’t do that for you?

    By that standard, you’d treat as equally moral as two guys trying for Conscientious Objector status in the army — the first who says “I will never kill anyone” and the second who says “I won’t kill white people, but I’ll kill all the non-whites you want.”

    The doctor’s argument in both cases is the same one — they will not discriminate against any patient, regardless of their opinion of their personal character.

    Can’t you just own that you posted a really stupid hypothetical? Or do you wanna keep doubling down?

  41. Regarding the “is 71 too old?”:

    Life expectancy of a 71 year old male is 84.

    A heart transplant patient is expeceted to live 10-15 years after the surgery.

    So it seems to me that early 70s is not wasting the organ, since the recipient is still expected to outlive the organ.

  42. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Herb: So, Herb, then I guess you’d go along with “if you won’t advertise on Rush Limbaugh’s show, you’re not allowed to advertise on radio at all?” Any company that decides to boycott Limbaugh has forfeited their right to put any ads on any radio show?

  43. Herb says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Can’t you just own that you posted a really stupid hypothetical? Or do you wanna keep doubling down?

    It must be one of those really stupid hypotheticals that must be rebutted immediately with hair-splitting and reductio ad absurdum…