From: Reuters
Published November 26, 2007 08:11 PM

Cheney treated for irregular heartbeat

By Tabassum Zakaria

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, who has a history of heart problems, was treated with an electric shock for an irregular heartbeat discovered during a doctor's visit on Monday, his office said.

Cheney, 66, one of President George W. Bush's closest advisers, returned home from the hospital after the procedure, which required sedation, and will resume his normal schedule at the White House on Tuesday, his office said.

"An electrical impulse was used to restore the upper chambers to normal rhythm," the statement said. "The procedure went smoothly and without complication."

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Cheney, who had gone to see his doctors because of a lingering cough from a cold, was found to have "atrial fibrillation, an abnormal rhythm involving the upper chambers of the heart," Megan Mitchell, his spokeswoman, said earlier.

He went to the hospital later in the day for the outpatient procedure.

Atrial fibrillation is a disorder becoming increasingly common. The heart's two small upper chambers quiver instead of beating effectively and blood is not pumped out completely, so it may pool and clot, putting the person at risk of stroke.

Cheney survived four heart attacks before he became vice president. The last one, shortly after the November 2000 election, was considered mild.

More recently he was treated for a blood clot in his leg that was discovered after a trip to Asia and the Middle East.

He had his internal heart-regulating device, an implanted cardioverter defibrillator, replaced in July. The devices monitor the heart and shock it back into a normal rhythm if abnormal beating occurs.

Cheney also had surgery to treat abnormal blood vessels, or aneurysms, behind both knees in September 2005.

In 1988, he underwent quadruple bypass surgery and he has also had angioplasty to reopen a partially blocked artery.

(Editing by David Alexander and John O'Callaghan)

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