Cheney checked himself into the hospital yesterday after episodes of chest pain. The vice president has a history of heart trouble and survived his fourth heart attack in November.
Yesterday, doctors performed a balloon angioplasty at George Washington University Hospital after doctors found “a very discrete spot of renarrowing,” on the same artery where a stent was inserted following his most recent heart attack.
“The angioplasty was necessitated by a common complication of the stint procedure, not a progression of his heart disease,” the White House said in a statement today. “No work restrictions have been placed on the Vice President who intends to resume his schedule later this week.”
Cheney’s doctor confirmed that about 20 percent of patients who have a stent — a hollow, spring-like device that keeps arteries open — experience such a tightening. He said the likelihood that it will happen again is greater, about 40 percent.
Doctors inserted a new stent, which is about 13 millimeters long, after finding the narrowing at one end of the stent.
Cheney left the hospital this morning wearing a dark business suit and said he felt “good.” He is resting at the vice president’s residence at the U.S. Naval Observatory today.
A history of heart disease
When asked whether Cheney’s heart disease could prevent him from continuing in his active role, Dr. Jonathan Reiner, who performed the operation, said “I wish I could predict the future. I think there’s a very high likelihood that he can finish out his term in his extremely vigorous capacity.”
Cheney, 60, had his first heart attack at age 37. In 1988 he had quadruple bypass surgery to clear clogged arteries.
In a television interview with CNN on Sunday, Cheney said he felt great. “I am well-behaved. They’ve taken control of my food supply. So I’m trying to do all those things you need do to be a responsible individual with a history of coronary artery disease and somebody who’s 60.”