National

Feb 23, 2010 2:46 PM by Bea Karnes, News First 5

Spokesman: Cheney had 'mild' heart attack

Lab tests show evidence that former Vice President Dick Cheney experienced a mild heart attack, an aide said Tuesday.

Aide Peter Long said that Cheney, who was admitted to George Washington University Hospital Monday after experiencing chest pains, underwent a stress test and heart catheterization.

He is "feeling good and is expected to be discharged in the next day or two," Long said.

The former vice president has had five heart attacks. He experienced his first at age 37.

Cheney had bypass surgery in 1988, as well as two later angioplasties to clear narrowed coronary arteries, and bypasses tend to last about a decade before the rerouted blood vessels start to clog.

In 2001, he had a special pacemaker implanted in his chest. In addition, doctors in 2008 restored a normal rhythm to his heart with an electric shock. It was the second time in less than a year that Cheney had experienced and been treated for an atrial fibrillation, an abnormal rhythm involving the upper chambers of the heart.

The former vice president has kept a high profile since leaving the White House. He has sparred with the Obama administration over plans to close the U.S. detention facility for terror suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and hold the trials of several high-profile detainees in civilian courts rather than military tribunals.

He made a surprise appearance last week at the Conservative Political Action Conference, where he accompanied his daughter Liz. He was greeted with chants of "Run, Dick, Run," but said "I am not going to do it."

Among his extensive government service, Cheney served as defense secretary under President George H.W. Bush.

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