No, it's not a joke. Dick Cheney no longer has a pulse. Rachel Maddow discusses the details of the former Vice President's heart surgery with Dr. Allan Stewart, a cardiac surgeon at New York Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia.
Former Vice President Dick Cheney said Wednesday that he underwent surgery last week to have a tiny pump implanted to assist in the functioning of his heart as he experiences "increasing congestive heart failure.
The surgery, to insert a left ventricular assist device, was performed at Fairfax Hospital in Virginia.
Cheney, 69, has suffered five heart attacks, the first when he was 37. His most recent heart attack, described as "mild," was in February, but late last month he was admitted to George Washington University Hospital for a few days after reporting he was not feeling well. He received medication to treat a fluid buildup related to his aggressive form of heart disease.
"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 a statement. "After a series of recent tests and discussions with my doctors, I decided to take advantage of one of the new technologies available and have a Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) implanted."
A doctor, who is part of his medical team, told NBC News that Cheney is "doing well now," but that the former vice president was short of breath and was experiencing "heart failure" before the device was implanted. He was "running on 3 cylinders. Now he's on 8," the doctor said.
The American Heart Association website defines the LVAD device as "a battery-operated, mechanical pump-type device that's surgically implanted. It helps maintain the pumping ability of a heart that can't effectively work on its own."
The kind of heart pump that Cheney received can be implanted next to the heart to help its main pumping chamber, the left ventricle, pump blood through the body. Such devices are used mainly for short periods, to buy potential transplant candidates time as they await a donor organ.
I hope Mr. Cheney is enjoying that evil Socialist tax payer funded government health care he's getting.