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Vice President Cheney Leaves the Hospital After a Heart Procedure

Aired June 30, 2001 - 15:19   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
BRIAN NELSON, CNN ANCHOR: Now, let's go to Dick Cheney. There's Dick Cheney leaving the hospital, George Washington University hospital, waiving to some of the crowds that assembled outside to see the former vice president -- I'm sorry, the vice president as he left the hospital.

He had an operation this morning to install a defibrillator in his chest, and that will regulate his heartbeat now and perhaps eliminate some of the worries that doctors have had about his condition of the health of his heart.

Let's go Rea Blakey who was monitoring the vice president's operation all day. Rea, why don't you just give us a recap of what the vice president underwent.

REA BLAKEY, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: He arrived about 8:30 this morning. He underwent a procedure called an electrophysiology study, which basically allowed doctors to stimulate his heart into an arrhythmia, into a faster beat. They were able to achieve that, and then they decided let's go ahead and implant this defibrillator.

These defibrillators are basically 99 percent effective at helping patients like Mr. Cheney avoid any further arrhythmias. They felt it was an insurance policy, an important preventive measure for his heart's health.

Quite frankly, at this point, the vice president looks fairly good. His doctors assured us during a news conference that he could assume all of his duties as the second-in-command for this country, and that basically he's really -- the only issue he would have to be concerned about would be for the next couple of days avoiding too much stress in his upper chest area. That device was implanted just underneath the collar bone on the left hand side, and so they don't want him to move too much, because they don't want to dislodge it, they want it to sit and basically melt with the rest of his body tissue.

After that, he should be able to exercise regularly. He's expected to report back to work on Monday, and the vice president, we are told, is probably in fairly good shape for some time.

Brian: Rea, quickly, does the vice president expect to have any discomfort from this device that is in his chest? BLAKEY: We were told that if in fact, the device fires, if an arrhythmia occurs and the device actually engages, he might feel a slight pop. They used the term pop. However, beyond that, he's taking Tylenol as a pain reliever at this time, and other than that he really shouldn't notice that it's there, unless of course he goes through an airport metal detector and the device triggers the metal detector. Other than that, he should not notice.

Oh, one other caveat, Brian, I forgot to mention. If the vice president is using a cell phone, he's been told that he should use that cell phone handling it on the right side of his head so that he doesn't trigger any kind of electrical charge between the cell phone and the defibrillator.

Brian: Hard enough keeping those calls as it is. Thank you very much, CNN's Rea Blakey at the George Washington University hospital.

And just to recap, the doctors said that everything went extremely smoothly this morning for the vice president, and he's expected to be back at work on Monday.

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