Cheney's heart health found to be stable

/ Source: The Associated Press

Vice President Dick Cheney’s pacemaker is working properly and his overall heart condition is stable, according to results from his annual physical Saturday.

The 65-year-old Cheney, who has a long history of heart ailments, had an electrocardiogram and high-tech imaging to check on repaired aneurysms on the back of his knees, his spokeswoman said.

Doctors also checked the condition of a high-tech pacemaker, known as an implantable cardioverter defibrillator, that was placed in his chest in June 2001.

Cheney has had four attacks; the first in 1978, when he was 37, and the fourth on Nov. 22, 2000, after the election that made George W. Bush president.

“The vice president’s cardiac status remains stable, his ICD is functioning property and has not treated any arrhythmia,” or irregular heartbeat, according to a statement from his spokeswoman, Lea Anne McBride.

Cheney is scheduled to have a stress test on a treadmill in the fall.

In addition to the four heart attacks, the vice president has had quadruple bypass surgery and two artery-clearing angioplasties.

In September, he underwent six hours of surgery on his legs to repair a kind of aneurysm, a ballooning weak spot in an artery that can burst if left untreated. Cheney had flexible stent grafts put in his knee arteries. The stents, when fully opened, keep the rushing blood from touching the weakened artery walls.

“The stent grafs used to treat the popliteal artery aneurysms are wide open,” McBride said.

Cheney was carrying a newspaper and was accompanied by his security detail when he enter the George Washington University Medical Center at about 7 a.m. He left less than three hours later, walking to his motorcade and waving at cameras but saying nothing.

After the tests, Cheney returned to his home. Later Saturday, Cheney was traveling to Florida to watch the launch of the shuttle Discovery and then attend the Pepsi 400 NASCAR race at Daytona International Speedway.