Dick Cheney had another episode of his arrhythmia condition and has now been released.
Per MSNBC and wire reports: Vice President Dick Cheney on Wednesday left a D.C. hospital after an outpatient procedure to restore his normal heart rhythm following a recurrence of atrial fibrillation, the White House said.
A spokeswoman said the procedure — an electric shock administered at the hospital — went smoothly and without complication. Cheney spent the morning at the White House before the procedure. He was now home and ready to resume his normal schedule. <>Cheney last November received the same procedure, which involves an electrical shock to his heart. [longer, more detailed article, at the link]
One of the Veep’s cardiac issue is his arrhythmia, called A-fib for short. I have the same issue and have had the same procedure done twice. This is nearly exactly what you see in the medical drama’s but when planned it is called a cardio-vert. Essentially they adhere a pad to your back, stick one over the heart and jap the hell out of you. Really. JAP! It ‘resets’ the heart beat. (Yes, the body jumps around like in the TV shows.)
Before the cardio-vert, in a nasty episode, your heart vibrates at a speed that the monitors have a hard time tracking. Mine has surged, no pun intended, between 180 and 95 in the blink of an eye. Imagine a really fast flutter in the heart.
The one saving grace is that you are given some temporary anesthetic that the nurses call, ‘Milk of Amnesia’. While not fully unconscious you do not get the sensation of the real shock even though your body’s bouncing around. The doc’s know immediately whether it worked in resetting the rhythm of the heart or not. [Now that I think about it I never asked if they had to do it more than once while I was out. Hmmm…just as well. I really don’t want to know. Hell, writing about this topic makes me uneasy.]
One point that hasn’t been discussed with Cheney’s famous multiple cardiac conditions is how often he is symptomatic without needing to go to the hospital. I can guarantee that having a long lasting arrhythmia episode is no fun and leaves me, at least, feeling really drained. A person can wait as much as 24 hours before seeking help, I’m told, but I don’t. The bloodclot issue can mean more than a stroke. It can also cause a heart attack. Sorry been that bought that t-shirt.
It is also possible, even likely, that the heart will ‘self-convert’ and BANG…your beat is back to normal. Some people with constant, although not dramatic, arrhythmia will have small implants in their chest that send tiny shocks that automatically happen when needed.
So how often is the Vice-President feeling lousy and having symptoms? How often doesn’t he need the cardio-vert?
The other question I have is whether he’s on some medications? I take two specifically for that issue, atrial ventricular fibrillation, and haven’t had a serious recurrence since I started them. If it works for me, and I have other cardiac issues just like Cheney then why does he continue to have episodes severe enough to require a cardio-vert?
If you’ve been there it’s interesting. If not….what the hell he’s gone in January. Thank god. Unfortunately his legacy will live on.