from new york times: Vice President Dick Cheney will undergo minor surgery Saturday morning to replace the battery that powers a device implanted in his chest six years ago to monitor his heart and deliver a shock if it ever goes out of rhythm.
“During the vice president’s annual physical examination in June, testing of his implantable cardioverter defibrillator indicated that the device’s battery has reached the level where elective replacement of the device is recommended,” Megan McGinn, deputy press secretary for Mr. Cheney, said Friday.
The surgery is to be performed at George Washington University Hospital, where doctors will replace the battery part of the defibrillator.
Dr. John Kassotis, director of electrophysiology at the State University of New York, Downstate Medical Center, said that doctors typically used a local anesthetic on the chest and shoulder area below the collar bone. They make an incision and remove the defibrillator’s generator, detaching it from wires that are connected inside the patient’s heart, and connect a new battery.
“They will test that everything is working appropriately; then they will suture him closed,” Dr. Kassotis said. “What we do is watch the patient for about an hour, make sure that they’re doing fine, and send them home.”
Mr. Cheney, 66, has had four heart attacks, quadruple bypass surgery, two angioplasties and, in June 2001, the operation to implant the defibrillator.