Cheney Hospitalized Again for Minor Surgery

Former VP to undergo elective back surgery

Former Vice President Dick Cheney is having elective back surgery Thursday at George Washington University Hospital.

The surgery is to deal with lumbar spinal stenosis, a common cause of lower back pain in older adults, Cheney spokeswoman Lucy Tutwiler said.

Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the spinal canal -- the passage for the spinal cord -- which in turn puts pressure on nerves, causing pain. Surgery is done to widen the passage and ease that pressure, typically by removing a bit of the vertebra.

Dr. Anthony Caputy, chairman of the hospital's neurosurgery department, is performing the operation.

Cheney is 68 years old. He has had four heart attacks and had the following procedures done during his years in the George W. Bush White House:

  • Defibrillator implanted
  • Defibrillator replaced
  • Surgery to treat aneurysms behind his knees
  • Electric shock administered to his heart to restore its rhythm
  • Surgery to correct the abnormal heart rhythm

He also had hospital visits after feeling shortness of breath and the development of a blood clot in his leg after a long trip to Asia.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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