After a long history of heart problems, Dick Cheney, former Vice President to George W. Bush, received a heart transplant over the weekend in Falls Church, Virginia.
According to The Toronto Star, the 71-year-old’s new heart came from a donor whose identity is remaining anonymous.
“Although the former vice president and his family do not know the identity of the donor, they will be forever grateful for this lifesaving gift,” Cheney’s aide Kara Ahern said, in a CNN article.
CNN also reported that since the age of 37, Cheney has suffered at least five heart attacks.
Doctors said that Cheney represented one out of the 5 million people globally who have increasing congestive heart failure, as referenced in a recent MSNBC article.
In the late 1980s, according to CNN, Cheney went through a quadruple bypass heart operation. By 2007, doctors found he had deep venous thrombosis in one of his legs and had replaced his pacemaker, also reported by CNN.
More recently, in 2010 he had a left ventricular assist device (LVAD) installed after he suffered another heart attack. This let his heart be battery powered by carrying around a fanny pack with actual batteries to pump his heart. It is used for short-term purposes as a patient is put on the heart transplant waiting list, according to MSNBC.
"I've gotten used to the various contraptions that are always with me, and I'm working and traveling, I've hunted a time or two, and I have some fishing planned," Cheney said in a statement last year, reported by MSNBC.
While patients who are in the 50-64 age bracket receive the majority of transplants, doctors said that the chances of Cheney recovering successfully from the operation are high. According to The Toronto Star, almost 70 percent of patients with new hearts generally live at least five years. However, because Cheney is over 65, this number could be slightly lower.
In a CNN article, President Bush said he is grateful that the surgery went well for Cheney, according to the Bush family communications director, Freddy Ford. “They [He and Mrs. Bush] are keeping Vice President Cheney in their prayers for a full and speedy recovery.”