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Former Vice President Dick Cheney underwent heart surgery last week to implant a mechanical pump and is recuperating, according to a statement issued to Reuters.Cheney has a long history of heart disease, most recently his fifth heart attack in February. He had his first attack at age 37.A few weeks ago, it became clear that I was entering a new phase of the disease when I began to experience increasing congestive heart failure, Cheney said in the statement. After a series of recent tests and discussions with my doctors, I decided to take advantage of one of the new technologies available.The device is the Left Ventricular Assist Device, a battery-operated, mechanical pump implanted into the upper abdomen. It helps maintain the pumping ability of a heart that cant effectively work on its own, according to the American Heart Association.The association calls the device a bridge to transplant, because patients awaiting a heart transplant often have one implanted. It can help a weak heart and buy time for the patient, according to the associations website.Cheneys statement did not say whether he needs a transplant, but he said the pump will improve his heart function and will enable me to resume an active life.