Pumps Like Cheney's Can Extend Lives

WASHINGTON, July 16 (UPI) — The pump helping former Vice President Dick Cheney’s heart work, has given similar patients a better than 50-50 chance of living two more years, a study shows.

Cheney, 69, had a left ventricular assist device implanted last week at a Fairfax, Va., hospital. In a statement Wednesday, he said he “decided to take advantage of one of the new technologies available.”

The device, which takes over the work of the heart’s main pumping chamber, shouldn’t be considered a definitive cure for end-stage congestive heart failure, the condition apparently afflicting Cheney, studies indicate.

A study published in December indicated 58 percent of patients with end-stage congestive heart failure who received the device were alive two years later. The report indicated 46 percent were alive, didn’t have a stroke and didn’t need a replacement.

The prognosis for people with end-stage congestive heart failure who don’t get a transplant or a pump is a dismal 8 percent after two years, another study indicated.

“We have taken a disease that had a terrible prognosis and given people a much improved prognosis and a better quality of life,” Samer Najjar, a cardiologist who heads programs on heart failure, heart transplantation and mechanical circulatory support at Washington Hospital Center, told the Post.

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