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.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.