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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.

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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.