Video: Cheney back at White House

NBC News and news services
updated 3/20/2007 1:26:44 PM ET 2007-03-20T17:26:44

Vice President Dick Cheney went back to George Washington University Hospital on Tuesday after experiencing discomfort in his left lower leg — the same leg in which a blood clot was found two weeks ago — NBC News reported.

Initially the White House had said the vice president had gone to the hospital for a follow-up examination in connection with the clot. “He’s getting a routine follow-up on his leg. It’s just a routine checkup,” said spokeswoman Megan McGinn.

Cheney’s office issued an update after his return to the White House, saying the vice president experienced discomfort in his left lower leg Tuesday morning and after consultation with his physicians, he was asked to return to George Washington University Medical Faculty Associates for "repeat ultrasound imaging of the deep venous thrombosis (clot) in that leg."

The vice president's office said the ultrasound revealed no extension or complication of the clot. His blood-thinning medication was found to be therapeutic. "These results are expected and reassuring," the statement said, "and the current course of treatment will continue. The Vice President has returned to the White House to resume his schedule."

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When doctors discovered a blood clot in the vice president’s leg two weeks ago, they said at the time that he likely would have to be treated with blood-thinning medication for several months.

Spokeswoman Lee Anne McBride said at the time that the 66-year-old had visited his doctor’s office on March 5 after feeling minor discomfort in his calf. An ultrasound showed the blood clot — called a deep venous thrombosis —in his left lower leg.

Blood clots that form deep in the legs can become killers if they break off and float into the lungs. This is called a pulmonary embolism. Deep vein thrombosis strikes an estimated 2 million Americans each year, killing 60,000.

Long-haul flights
Many people suffer DVT after spending long periods without moving, such as passengers on long-haul airline flights. Cheney had just spent about 65 hours on a plane on a nine-day, round-the-world trip.

Cheney has had had a host of heart-related problems over the years.

He had six hours of surgery on his legs in 2005 to repair a kind of aneurysm, a ballooning weak spot in an artery that can burst if left untreated. He has had four heart attacks, quadruple bypass surgery, two artery-clearing angioplasties and an operation to implant a special pacemaker in his chest.

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