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Cheney Passes Pacemaker Test

February 8, 2002

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WASHINGTON (AP) _ Doctors found in a routine check of Vice President Dick Cheney’s pacemaker Friday that the device has not yet been needed to correct any irregular heartbeat, a spokeswoman said.

``After his routine checkup, the vice president was told by his doctor that all the news was very good. In particular, the doctor noted that the vice president’s ICD neither detected nor treated any arrhythmia,″ said Mary Matalin, White House counselor to Cheney.

The vice president, who has a 30-year history of heart problems, had the high-tech pacemaking device _ called an implantable cardioverter defibrillator _ placed in his chest in June to even out a rapid heartbeat. It was last checked in October, at which time the device also showed no activity.

If Cheney’s heart had slipped into an abnormal rhythm, the electrical pacemaker-type device would have activated to jolt the heart back into a proper beat.

Cheney, 61, said nothing to reporters as he left his doctor’s office at George Washington University Medical Center after the two-hour physical that Matalin described as a ``routine, semiannual cardiovascular checkup to include a physical exam, an EKG, an echocardiogram and a stress test.″

In the procedure, the doctor electronically scanned the pacemaking device to make sure it is working and to see if it has been activated to adjust Cheney’s heartbeat. It was a noninvasive procedure, and Cheney went straight to work for a typical day at the White House, Matalin said.

Cheney, who is planning a nine-country swing through the Middle East in March, has had four heart attacks, the most recent in November 2000, and was hospitalized last March to reopen a partially blocked artery.

In 1988, after suffering his third heart attack, Cheney had quadruple bypass surgery to clear clogged arteries.

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