With heart device, Cheney may not need transplant, experts say
WASHINGTON — Former Vice President Dick Cheney, battling a lifetime of cardiac disease, has not decided whether to seek a heart transplant but could use the device surgically inserted into his chest last week as permanent therapy for his condition, according to a source close to the Cheney family and to heart surgeons familiar with the treatment.
“He has not made any decision yet about a transplant,” the source said Thursday. “He is totally focused right now on recuperation and rehab with his (current device).”
Cheney, who suffered his first of five heart attacks at age 37, announced Wednesday that he had undergone surgery last week to insert the device. In a statement released by his office, he called the procedure a new phase of “increasing congestive heart failure” but said he thought he would soon resume an active life.
The device implanted into the former vice president’s chest is known as an LVAD — or left ventricular assist device. It is often described as a temporary therapy representing a “bridge” to a transplant, fueling speculation that the 69-year-old Cheney may be on the path toward seeking a new heart.
But experts said the newest models of the device, essentially a pump, are considered “destination therapies” that can last for years.