Cheney recovering from heart surgery

The former US vice-president Dick Cheney has undergone surgery to install a small pump to help his heart work, as the 69-year-old enters a new phase of what he called "increasing congestive heart failure". "The operation went very well, and I am now recuperating," Mr Cheney said in a statement released by his office. The surgery took place last week at Inova Fairfax Heart and Vascular Institute in northern Virginia.

Mr Cheney has dealt with heart problems for much of his adult life, suffering five heart attacks since the age of 37. He said the latest step, the implanting of a pump called a left ventricular assist device, will allow him to resume an active life.

The pump is not a cure, said Dr Samer Najjar, at Washington Hospital Centre. But by rerouting the blood to take over the job of the left ventricle, the pump relieves pressure on the heart. "The expectation is he is going to have an improved quality of life for some time to come," said Dr Najjar. Mr Cheney said a few weeks ago he was "entering a new phase of the disease when I began to experience increasing congestive heart failure".