Cheney's pacemaker passes routine hospital check; doctors say all the news is good

Friday, February 8th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Doctors found in a routine check of Vice President Dick Cheney's pacemaker Friday that the device has not once been triggered to correct any irregular heartbeat, a spokeswoman said.

``After his routine checkup, the vice president was told by his doctor that all the news was very good,'' said Mary Matalin, White House counselor to Cheney.

The vice president, who has a history of heart problems, had the high-tech pacemaking device _ called an implantable cardioverter defibrillator _ placed in his chest in June. It was last checked in October, at which time the device also showed no activity.

On Friday, Matalin reported that Cheney's cardiologist, Richard S. Reiner, ``noted that the vice president's ICD neither detected nor treated any arrhythmia.''

Cheney said nothing to reporters as he left his doctor's office at George Washington University Medical Center after the two-hour physical that Matalin described as a ``routine, semiannual cardiovascular checkup to include a physical exam, an EKG, an echocardiogram and a stress test.''

In the procedure, the doctor electronically scanned the pacemaking device to make sure it is working and to see if it has been activated to adjust Cheney's heartbeat. It was a noninvasive procedure, and Cheney went straight to work for a typical day at the White House, Matalin said.

Cheney, who has had four heart attacks, is planning a nine-country trip to Europe and the Middle East in March.