Aide Says Cheney Had Heart Transplant

An aide says a nearly two-year wait has ended in successful heart transplant surgery for former Vice President Dick Cheney, who is recovering at a Virginia hospital.

While the donor is unknown, the aide says the former vice president and his family "will be forever grateful for this lifesaving gift."

More than 3,100 Americans currently are on the national waiting list for a heart transplant. Just over 2,300 heart transplants were performed last year and 330 people died while waiting.

Experts say the odds of survival are good. More than 70 percent of heart transplant recipients live at least five years, although survival is a bit lower for people over age 65. Cheney is 71.

Cheney has had five heart attacks over the past 25 years and countless related medical procedures.

Heart failure kills 57,000 Americans a year and contributes to many more deaths.

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