On a serious note, I wanted to draw your attention to the news today about Dick Cheney’s latest heart setback. The reports have, on their face, been fairly upbeat, with Cheney himself issuing a statement about the surgery he had last week to implant a pump to help his heart overcome his congestive heart failure. The surgery was a success, Cheney is resting comfortably, etc.
But reading between the lines, you’re left with the distinct impression that Cheney, 69, is entering the late stages of congestive heart failure, that his prognosis is not very good, and that the available treatment options are very limited. That’s my lay person rendering after a close read of this afternoon’s reports. Here’s a more informed read from TPM Reader JK:
I’m a surgeon and just read your wire story about Dick Cheney getting a Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) placed. The story downplays the seriousness of that procedures…once you’ve got an LVAD in place, it means your heart is essentially incapable of working on its own and has no potential to improve. While LVAD outcomes have been improving, and some patients live months or even years with one of these devices in place, this is a HUGE operation with MAJOR associated morbidity and mortality. If he’s not listed for a heart transplant, his days are seriously numbered. Life on an LVAD isn’t something I’d wish on my worst enemy…an axiom that this situation really tests. He’s in for a rough time.
We’ve known for a long time that Cheney is suffering from serious heart disease. He has known his fate and been upfront about it. But it does appear that things have entered a new and more serious stage, even if he and everyone else knew it would come eventually.
David Kurtz is Managing Editor and Washington Bureau Chief of Talking Points Memo where he oversees the news operations of TPM and its sister sites.