September 16, 2005

Cheney to have surgery to treat aneurism

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Vice President Dick Cheney will
undergo elective surgery next weekend to treat an aneurism
behind his right knee and it will involve a short hospital
stay, his office said on Friday.

Cheney, 64, has had a history of heart trouble, including a
fourth heart attack shortly after the contested presidential
election in November 2000.

Steve Schmidt, counsel to the vice president, said the
aneurism was in the artery behind the right knee and was
discovered earlier this year during a routine checkup.

"It is a condition that needs to be addressed so as not to
be a problem over time," Schmidt said.

"The procedure will be performed under local anesthetic and
take place next weekend. The procedure will involve a short
hospital stay. The vice president will return to work shortly
thereafter," he said.

He said more details would be released next week about the

An aneurism is a bulging section in the wall of a blood
vessel that has become stretched out and thin. Where the wall
of the blood vessel bulges out, it becomes weaker and may burst
or rupture, causing bleeding.

The Merck Manual, a doctors' reference book, says aneurisms
behind the knees are common in older people and rarely rupture.

But they can cause blood clots to form, which can travel in
the body to cause a stroke, heart attack or other problem.
Surgery is often recommended to correct them, the manual said.

Doctors say an aneurism can occur in people with clogged
arteries and can be related to heart disease.

Medical tests performed on Cheney in mid-July showed small,
dilated parts of the arteries behind his knees that appeared to
indicate an aneurism.

The main risks of a leg aneurism is that it could travel
downward and cause a loss of circulation in the foot, or that
it could burst, leading to severe blood loss, said Dr. Mike
Mollod, a Sarasota, Florida, cardiologist.

The surgery involves the creation of a bypass around the
aneurism and a cutting off of circulation to the bulging

"It is not a very risky surgery," Mollod said.