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Doc: Cheney OK After Heart Attack

November 22, 2000

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Republican vice presidential candidate Dick Cheney suffered a ``very slight heart attack″ early Wednesday morning, doctors said.

Cheney had suffered chest pains and checked into George Washington University Hospital before dawn Wednesday.

Doctors operated on Cheney to insert a stent inside a heart artery that had narrowed and was causing the chest pains. His hospitalization threw George W. Bush an unexpected curve in the midst of a political crisis over the Florida presidential vote count.

Throughout the day, the Bush campaign and doctors at the hospital had insisted that Cheney had not suffered a heart attack.

``Dick Cheney is healthy. He did not have a heart attack,″ Bush told reporters in Texas even while his running mate was undergoing surgery, which the Republican presidential nominee did not mention.

But late Wednesday afternoon, the hospital held a second news conference to announce the changed diagnosis.

``There was a very slight heart attack,″ Dr. Alan Wasserman, a professor of medicine and cardiology at the hospital, told reporters.

The doctors did not change their prognosis, however, saying Cheney was doing well and would be in the hospital two or three days. Doctors downplayed the possibility that Cheney would need more extensive treatment.

``It would be exceedingly unlikely for him to undergo a repeat bypass operation,″ Dr. Jonathan Reiner, Cheney’s personal physician, told reporters.

Cheney, 59, suffered three heart attacks more than a decade ago and underwent quadruple bypass surgery in 1988 to clear clogged arteries. Doctors gave him a clean bill of health when Bush chose him as his running mate in June.

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