July 18, 2010

Dick Cheney Gets State-Of-The-Art Heart Device

Posted in Heart Disease in the News tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , at 2:10 am by keepyourhearthealthy

Former Vice President Dick Cheney has lived with heart disease for 32 years. After 5 heart attacks, bypass surgery, stents, implantation of an ICD and cardioversion, Cheney is probably one of the most well-known heart disease patients in recent years.  Somehow he has survived through more heart injury than most people ever experience in their entire life!

His latest heart trouble though may be a sign of worse things to come.  According to www.theheart.org, Cheney underwent surgery last week to have a Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) implanted.  Some people may think of an LVAD as kind of like an artificial heart.  The device takes over the heart’s job of pumping blood to the entire body.  As you can see in the picture above, a tube pulls blood out from the bottom left part of the heart (out of the left ventricle chamber) and then pumps the blood back up to a major artery called the aorta.

LVADs have traditionally been used in people who have extremely weak hearts and are awaiting a heart transplant. In January though a new LVAD was approved for “Destination Therapy.”  People who receive an assist device under the term destination therapy are not transplant candidates so the goal of the LVAD is to merely improve quality of life and prolong their survival.  Studies in this setting have shown that the Vice President has about a 58% chance of surviving the next 2 years.   Given Cheney’s history of bouncing back despite all his heart problems, I wouldn’t be surprised if he outlives those odds!

To learn more about the device and how it is placed in the body, click on the link below:

Thoratec HeartMate II LVAS – Texas Heart Institute – Heart Assist Devices.

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