For Immediate Release
Office of the Vice President
June 29, 2001
Statement From Mary Matalin, Counselor to the Vice President
The following statement from the Vice President's cardiologist, Jonathan Samuel Reiner, M.D., details the Vice President's impending outpatient procedures at The George Washington University Hospital on Saturday, June 30.
A press conference with Dr. Reiner and his colleague, Sung W. Lee, M.D., FACC, will follow those procedures at Ross Hall, Room 117.
Statement from Dr. Jonathan Samuel Reiner:
The Vice President of the United States, Richard B. Cheney, will undergo elective, outpatient testing at The George Washington University Hospital on Saturday, June 30, 2001. The procedure, an electrophysiology study (EPS), is being performed for the purpose of determining the Vice President's risk of developing a persistent, abnormal, heart rhythm. The decision to proceed with electophysiology testing was prompted by the finding of four brief, asymptomatic episodes of abnormally fast heartbeats. This monitoring, performed two weeks ago, was proactively designed to search for such rhythm abnormalities, which patients who have had heart muscle damage as a result of coronary artery disease have increased likelihood of developing. The Vice President had not experienced any symptoms before, during, or after testing, and continues to feel very well.
The monitoring of two weeks ago was performed with a Holter ECG monitor. A Holter monitor, worn while the patient goes about their usual daily activities, provides a continuous recording of the ECG. The monitor recorded four separate 1 - 2 second episodes of abnormally fast heartbeats recorded during the 34 hours that the Vice President wore it. Mr. Cheney felt none of these occurrences. The electrophysiology study scheduled for June 30 involves the analysis of waveforms acquired from wires passed into the heart through the veins accessible at the top of the leg. This test will help assess Mr. Cheney's future risk of developing a sustained cardiac arrhythmia and determine if an implantable cardioverter defibrillator should be placed during the same procedure.
An implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) is a small electronic device, roughly the size of a small pager, weighing less than 80 grams, that is placed under the skin of the upper chest and has the capacity to continuously monitor and analyze a patient's heart rhythm. The ICD's main function is to interrupt rapid heart rhythms. If the ICD detects an arrhythmia, it can terminate the abnormal rhythm with either a pacemaker function or the delivery of a low-energy electrical shock. The device, which is designed to last 5 - 8 years before needing replacement, is placed with the aid of local anesthesia and intravenous sedation. Patients are usually discharged from the hospital later the same day and may return to work the next day.
It is important to note that the current testing is unrelated to the Vice President's prior coronary stenting and does not indicate progression of his coronary artery disease. Vice President Cheney continues to exercise 30 minutes per day several times per week and has had no recurrence of chest pain or any other symptoms.
If an ICD is placed, the Vice President will be able to return to work in an unrestricted fashion. The device will not, in any way, inhibit Mr. Cheney from functioning in his current role as Vice President of the United States and maintaining his current schedule.
Jonathan Samuel Reiner, MD
Jonathan Reiner, MD, a physician of The George Washington University Medical Faculty Associates, is the Director of GW Hospital's Cardiac Catherization Laboratory. He is also an Associate Professor of Medicine at the GW Medical Center, specializing in Interventional Cardiology. Dr. Reiner received his Doctor of Medicine at Georgetown University, completed his residency at Cornell University / North Shore University Hospital and completed his Cardiology fellowship at The George Washington University Medical Center. Dr. Reiner has done extensive research and has published a wide range of articles on cardiovascular disease. He is board certified in Internal Medicine, Cardiovascular Disease, and Interventional Cardiology.
Sung W. Lee, MD, FACC
Sung Lee, MD, a physician of The George Washington University Medical Faculty Associates, is the Director of Cardiac Pacing and Electrophysiology at the GW Hospital. In addition, he is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the GW Medical Center. Dr. Lee received his Doctor of Medicine at the Medical College of Virginia. He completed his residency at the University of Maryland / VA Hospitals. After spending four years as a research fellow in the cardiovascular section, molecular hematology branch, of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health, Dr. Lee completed his clinical Cardiology fellowship at The George Washington University Medical Center. His special interests include cardiac arrhythmias and device interventions. Dr. Lee is board certified in Internal Medicine, Cardiovascular Disease, and Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology.