Cheney Gets Heart Transplant

Former vice president undergoes a life saving surgery.
3:27 | 03/25/12

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Transcript for Cheney Gets Heart Transplant
-- Vice President Dick Cheney undergoing a heart transplant. He is still recovering this morning but some are raising questions about whether the vice president is too old for a new heart. ABC's David Curley house the story from Washington good morning to you David. Good morning -- -- Cheney had hinted that he was thinking about getting a transplant but this news was really a ball just hours ago it came in a statement from his family. You know hospital just eight miles from his house former Vice President Dick Cheney has a new heart beating in his chest. Cheney is spent twenty long months on a waiting list. His family said in a statement they quote do not know the identity of the donor. They will be forever grateful for his life saving gift 71 year old has a long history with heart disease including five heart attacks the first at age 37 the latest just two years ago. -- told ABC's John Karl about the -- he had installed in 2010. It's originally designs transition. To -- transplant. -- heart transplant still a possibility. The battery pack -- -- was keeping Cheney's blood flowing until he could get a transplant. A little over a year ago I was at the end stage heart failure. My heart was -- pump enough blood service my kidneys my -- and so forth. Cheney has been a controversial figure and this surgery is no different. Doctor Eric toppled who consulted with Cheney in his first run for BP. Asked publicly whether Cheney was too old be given new -- saying quote it would be interest -- to find out. How this all came about was the match suitable for other individuals will -- ever find out or will this be kept under wraps. It's not that he shouldn't get a transplant it's a question of who didn't get one but -- wait for -- heart is actually considered slightly longer than usual most weight. Six months to a year. It is not unique that somebody -- age gets a heart transplant but on average recipients are usually a bit younger. -- -- All right David and ordering an ABC news senior health and medical editor doctor Richard -- great to see it after masters up. I wanna go back to what doctor hopefuls that he is just one doctor but he raised a question a lot of people are asking is seven you want too old for -- heart transplant and she -- -- -- to a younger candidate. You know they're used to be a hard age cut off at 55 and some hospitals are still using 65. But I talked to two leading transplant -- last night and they no longer use age if the rest of our -- -- find new kidney disease no previous strokes. -- is not factor at all. And we know that he had been wearing that ventricular assist -- for two years now so we had been readying himself. For a heart transplant he had told our John -- ask another question people ask anytime someone prominent received a transplant for amnesty jobs now. -- -- Vice President Dick Cheney. Was there any preferential treatment did -- jump the line for what he's seen now. -- -- I mean we don't have all the details but from what we see so far it doesn't look that way I -- today ahead of transplant at UCLA and -- -- the wait is three to six months. Here was twenty months we don't know why though some patients who have this assist devices do so well that there are no rush to get a transplant. We don't know who was from that -- -- had something do with the vice president blood type we're took little longer and quickly prognosis for recovery. Well you know he's had two prior surgery -- this in the immediate period is the most critical. But one year survival for someone his age is 83%. Five years and 63% odds are very very -- -- All right doctor Peter appreciate you coming in and we wish vice president or Vice President Dick Cheney all of us this morning.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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