Defibrillator Replaced, Cheney Is Out Of Hospital

By Deb Riechmann
Associated Press
Sunday, July 29, 2007

Vice President Cheney had successful surgery yesterday to replace a device that monitors his heartbeat.

Doctors at George Washington University Hospital replaced the defibrillator, a sealed unit that includes a battery. Upon sensing an abnormal heart rhythm, the device delivers an electronic shock to reset the heart to a normal beat.

"The device was successfully replaced without complication," Cheney spokeswoman Megan McGinn said.

Doctors did not replace the wiring attached to the defibrillator. Replacing the wires, which are threaded through Cheney's heart, would have required a more extensive operation.

Cheney, wearing a sport jacket and an open-collar shirt, smiled and waved as he left the hospital about four hours after his arrival.

"The vice president feels fine," McGinn said.

Cheney returned to his home at the Naval Observatory and will resume his normal schedule, she said.

The vice president has had four heart attacks, a quadruple-bypass surgery, two artery-clearing angioplasties and an operation to implant the defibrillator six years ago.

During Cheney's annual physical last month, doctors tested the defibrillator and determined that the battery needed attention.

At that checkup, Cheney underwent a stress test that showed no blockages in his heart. Doctors said then that his defibrillator, which was implanted in June 2001, was functioning properly.

Patients who have surgery to replace a defibrillator battery normally need nothing more than over-the-counter pain relievers afterward, said Stephen Siegel, a cardiologist at New York University Medical Center. They are also told to avoid major exercise for a week or two, he said.

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