Photo by Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images.
UPDATE: Dick Cheney on Tuesday was released from a Washington, D.C.-area hospital, where the former vice president had been recovering from the heart transplant he underwent late last month.
Here's the statement from his office (via ABC News):
"He would like to thank the physicians at Inova Fairfax and George Washington University Hospitals for the outstanding care they have provided. He and his family are also grateful to the ICU nursing staff at the Heart and Vascular Institute. As he leaves the hospital, the former Vice President and his family want to again express their deep gratitude to the donor and the donor’s family for this remarkable gift."
Sunday, March 25: Former Vice President Dick Cheney had a heart transplant Saturday after suffering five heart attacks since the age of 37. An aide released a statement from his office once the procedure was over and said the 71-year-old was recovering at a Virginia hospital, reports the Associated Press. Cheney was on a transplant list for more than 20 months.
“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,” the statement said.
Heart transplant surgery was once an extremely risky procedure, but survival rates have improved greatly in recent years, reports Reuters. Around 88 percent of patients survive after the first year following a heart transplant, and 75 percent survive for five years.
Cheney has had numerous medical procedures over the years to fix heart trouble. In 1988 he underwent quadruple-bypass surgery, notes the Washington Post, pointing out he also had two angioplasties. In June 2010 Cheney announced a small heart pump had been implanted, after which he reappeared in public noticeably thinner and said he was considering a heart transplant. In his memoir, Cheney wrote extensively about his heart problems and revealed that he kept a resignation letter locked in his safe just in case he were to become incapacitated, notes Politico.
Early last year, the New York Times took a look at how Cheney had abandoned his role as a combative political figure after his heart pump was implanted.