WebMD Medical News
Louise Chang, MD
March 5, 2007 -- Vice President Dick Cheney is being treated for a blood
clot in his left leg, according to news reports.
Cheney will take blood-thinning medications for several months to treat the
clot, called a deep vein thrombosis (DVT), the reports say.
DVTs are blood clots that form in veins deep in the body, usually in the
lower leg or thigh. If a piece of a clot travels through the blood to the
lungs, it can cause a potentially deadly pulmonary embolism (blood clot in the
lungs). There is no sign of pulmonary embolism in Cheney's case.
DVTs can occur during periods of immobilization, such as bed rest, or
sitting for long periods of time, such as on lengthy flights.
Cheney returned to the U.S. last week from an overseas trip to Afghanistan
and Pakistan. But the cause of his DVT is not known.
Cheney is expected to maintain his regular schedule and "feels
fine," Cheney spokeswoman Lea Anne McBride says in an Associated Press
Cheney reportedly felt minor discomfort in his calf and got medical tests
using ultrasound imaging showing the DVT.
Cheney, who is 66 years old, has a history of heart problems. He has had
four heart attacks, quadruple bypass heart surgery, and two procedures to clear
clogged arteries (angioplasty).
He also has an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD), a tiny implant
that can shock an abnormal heart rhythm back to normal.
Cheney was treated briefly in January 2006 for shortness of breath and was
released the same day from a Washington hospital.
SOURCES: Associated Press. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute:
"Deep Vein Thrombosis." WebMD Medical News: "Cheney Treated for
Shortness of Breath."
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