GW Hospital treats Cheney heart attack

Vice President Dick Cheney returned to GW Hospital for a second time in four months Monday, after experiencing chest pains over the weekend.

The vice president underwent a cardiac catherization Monday night,

an hour-long procedure to reopen an artery that was treated following Cheney’s November heart attack. A stainless steel stent, which doctor’s implanted in November to open the artery for blood to pass, began to narrow the artery at one end.

“This was really much milder and very brief . which was quite different in character than the discomfort he had in November,” cardiologist Dr. Jonathan Reiner said at a press conference Monday.

According to initial enzyme readings and blood tests, Cheney did not suffer a heart attack, doctors said.

Cheney has suffered four heart attacks since the mid-1970s, the earliest coming when he was 37 years old.

“The vice president clearly has chronic coronary artery disease, affecting millions of people in this country,” Reiner said.

Cheney returned to work Wednesday.

Reiner said there is “a very high likelihood that (Cheney) can finish out his term in his extremely vigorous capacity.”

Cheney experienced his first pains after exercising Saturday, another on Sunday and two bouts of pain on Monday before calling his doctors, according to a press release from Cheney’s office. The vice president had a routine checkup March 1 and was found to be doing well three months after his original angioplasty.

The vice president was released Tuesday morning after one night of observation, but Reiner said that there is a 40 percent likelihood the artery could clog again in the next three to six months if the stent narrows.

Cheney had few words leaving the hospital Tuesday morning. Walking out of the hospital he said, “I feel good. See you later.”

Doctors said they have imposed no travel or work restrictions on the vice president. Cheney is currently on a special diet and exercise schedule, which doctors said he is adhering to “diligently.”

-Mosheh Oinounou

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