Dick Cheney is recovering from a heart transplant surgery that he underwent today, an aide close to the 71-year-old former vice president has revealed. He is currently in the Intensive Care Unit of Inova Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church, Virginia. Cheney had been on a waiting list for the organ for 20 months.

From the AP:

"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," aide Kara Ahern said in a written statement that was authenticated by several of the Republican politician's close associates.

Cheney, who suffers from congestive heart failure, has had five heart attacks since the age of 37. The first was in 1978, with subsequent attacks coming in 1984, 1988, 2000, and 2010. 

A brief history of Cheney's pre-heart transplant cardiovascular procedures:

  • In 1988, Cheney underwent a four-vessel coronary artery bypass grafting, or quadruple bypass.
  • In 2000, he underwent a coronary artery stenting procedure.
  • In 2001, he had an urgent coronary balloon angioplasty. Three months later, he had a cardioverter-defribrillator, similar to a pacemaker, implanted.
  • In 2005, Cheney underwent a six-hour endo-vascular procedure to repair popliteal artery aneurysms bilaterally. It required a catheter being inserted behind each knee.
  • In 2007, Cheney was treated for deep-vein thrombosis in his left leg.
  • In 2010, Cheney was admitted to the hospital after complaining of chest pains. It was from a minor heart attack. Five months later, he was outfitted for a left-ventricular assist device, a small pump that helps the heart to beat by pumping blood continuously through the body.  

[Sources: CNN, Wikipedia]