Cheney Completes Annual Physical

Associated Press
Sunday, July 17, 2005

Vice President Cheney has a mild case of esophagitis and some dilation of the arteries behind both knees, his office said yesterday after he completed an annual physical.

Cheney, 64, was at George Washington University Hospital for a colonoscopy, an upper endoscopy and a vascular screening. The procedures completed his yearly medical checkup.

In the first part of the exam last week, an annual heart checkup produced good news for Cheney, who has had four heart attacks, though none since he became vice president in 2001.

The latest tests found Cheney's colon, or large intestine, to be normal, according to a statement from his spokeswoman, Lea Anne McBride.

The endoscopy "indicated mild esophagitis," or swelling or irritation of the esophagus, the tube that leads from the back of the mouth to the stomach. The statement did not elaborate on the cause of Cheney's condition. Esophagitis frequently occurs when acidic fluid flows from the stomach back into the esophagus. Other possible causes include excessive vomiting, surgery and some medications.

Cheney's vascular exam also "identified small, dilated segments of the arteries behind both knees."

The vice president "is awaiting final recommendations from his medical team," the statement said.

Cheney walked briskly out of the hospital and waved to the assembled news media before getting into a car that took him back to his official residence near the Naval Observatory.

Cheney's heart checkup last week found that a pacemaker implanted in his chest in June 2001 was working fine and that it has never had to be activated. The device, called an implantable cardioverter defibrillator, is designed to activate automatically if needed to regulate a patient's heartbeat.

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