Former Vice President Dick Cheney had a heart transplant on Saturday and was recovering in a Virginia hospital, his office said in a statement.
Mr. Cheney, 71, who has suffered five heart attacks and was in end-stage heart failure, had been on the waiting list for a new heart for 20 months, the statement said. Mr. Cheney was recovering in the intensive care unit of Inova Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church, Va.
“Although the former vice president and his family do not know the identity of the donor, they will be forever grateful for this lifesaving gift,” said the statement from an aide, Kara Ahern. The statement thanked doctors and staff at the hospital and at George Washington University Hospital in Washington for “their continued outstanding care.”
In 2010, the former vice president had a left ventricular assist device, a battery-powered heart pump, implanted by surgeons, the latest in a series of operations on his heart and leg veins for treatment of end-stage heart failure.
Mr. Cheney, who served as vice president for all eight years of George W. Bush’s presidency, is an icon on the right and in the Republican Party, and has been one of the Obama administration’s toughest critics.
He is widely considered to have been among the most powerful vice presidents in American history, working behind the scenes on policies from energy to counterterrorism and advocating for presidential power. He was a lightning rod for critics of the Bush administration, and his influence during Mr. Bush’s second term was considerably diminished.
There was no advance word of the transplant, but it did not come entirely as a surprise. On the Today show on NBC in January 2011, Mr. Cheney discussed his heart pump and said he might need a transplant.
“I’ll have to make a decision at some point whether or not I want to go for a transplant,” Cheney said, “but we haven’t addressed that yet.”