Former Vice President Dick Cheney is recovering after undergoing heart transplant surgery at Falls Church, Va., today, according to a statement released by Cheney's office.
Cheney has been on the cardiac transplant list for more than 20 months.
"Although the former Vice President and his family do not know the identity of the donor, they will be forever grateful for this lifesaving gift. Former Vice President Cheney is thankful to the teams of doctors and other medical professionals at Inova Fairfax and George Washington University Hospital for their continued outstanding care," the statement said.
Cheney underwent surgery in July 2010 to have a heart pump, called a Left Ventricular Assist Device [LVAD], implanted to treat his recurring heart disease.
The LVAD is implanted next to the heart to help its main pumping chamber, the left ventricle, pump blood through the body. Such devices are used mainly for short periods, to buy time for potential transplant candidates as they await a donor organ.
Cardiologists said then that in Cheney's case, the pump was likely a "bridge" that would keep him alive until he could receive a heart transplant. Many cardiac experts said at the time of his surgery that Cheney may be only one step away from a transplant but could find himself on a wait list for "months or years."