Clipped From The Salina Journal
A4 WEDNESDAY, MARCH 7, 2001 WASHINQTON TVICE PRESIDENT'S HEALTH Cheney's artery could reclog again Vice president leaves hospital, but he will be closely monitored By LAURAN NEERGAARD 77/p Associated Press WASHINGTON — It sounds incredible; Dick Cheney, in his second public bout with heart disease in four months, undergoes undergoes surgery his doctor calls urgent but walks out of the hospital a day later and can return return to work this week. Many Americans would have trouble getting treated quite so fast, but actually a one-night hospital stay and quickly resuming resuming normal activity now is standard after minimally invasive invasive surgery to clear a clogged artery In many ways, the vice president president epitomizes some of the best in heart care — care that a new American Heart Association Association campaign is trying to spread to more patients. But that doesn't mean Cheney is home free: He's got a 40 percent percent chance of this same artery reclogging again. Plus, after four previous heart attacks that moderately damaged his heart muscle, cardiologists say he's at higher risk than the average 60- year-old of suffering other cardiac cardiac problems. Heart experts say Cheney will need close monitoring for a while, especially if he plans any overseas trips. And if this problem artery reclogs again, it may be time for newer options like inside-the-artery radiation. "For the next two to three months, he should be pretty golden," because reclogging takes some time, said Dr Jeffrey Jeffrey Brinker of Johns Hopkins University. But between summer and CHENEY REINER year's end, Cheney's risk of re- treatment will be highest, he said. Cheney left the hospital Tuesday morning, saying he felt good a day after chest pain prompted him to seek treatment. treatment. The problem: Back in November, November, doctors treated Cheney for a mild heart attack by implanting implanting a stent, a little metal scaffolding, to prop open an almost almost completely blocked artery But in 20 percent of patients, the body reacts against the for eign object by essentially forming forming scar tissue, a complication called restenosis that partially blocked one end of Cheney's stent. Doctors had to thread a balloon into Cheney's narrowed narrowed artery and inflate it to push aside the blockage. Cheney cardiologist Dr. Jonathan Reiner said the vice president's other arteries don't appear to have worsened, and the White House said Tuesday' that three sets of cardiac enzyme enzyme tests showed no additional additional heart damage. But Reiner acknowledged Cheney now has a 40 percent chance of that stent reclogging. Doctors should be able to detect detect restenosis before Cheney feels chest pain by performing exercise tests, Brinker said, recommending recommending such monitoring either either this summer or before an overseas trip that would put him out of reach of U.S. cardiologists. National guidelines recommend recommend trying the following therapy therapy for everyone who's ever had a heart attack: Aspirin or other blood thinners; cholesterol cholesterol management; drugs called ACE inhibitors and beta blockers; blockers; help for smokers to quit; weight control, including cutting cutting dietary fat, and proper exercise. exercise. Cheney quit smoking years ago, appears to have recently lost weight, and is stringently following exercise and medication medication recommendations, Reiner said Monday "If the vice president were my patient, I'd try to emphasize the positive" — that his other arteries still look OK, said Hopkins' Hopkins' preventive cardiology chief Dr. Roger Blumenthal. "There is a very high likelihood likelihood that he'll be able to finish out this term without any other problems."