Heart

An American Medical Odyssey

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For as long as he has served at the highest levels of business and government, Vice President Dick Cheney has also been one of the world’s most prominent heart patients. Now, for the first time ever, Cheney, together with his longtime cardiologist, Jonathan Reiner, MD, shares the very personal story of his courageous thirty-five-year battle with heart disease, from his first heart attack in 1978 to the heart transplant he received in 2012.

In 1978, when Cheney suffered his first heart attack, he received essentially the same treatment President Eisenhower had had in 1955. Since then, cardiac medicine has been revolutionized, and Cheney has benefitted from nearly every medical breakthrough. At each juncture, when Cheney faced a new health challenge, the technology was one step ahead of his disease. Cheney’s story is in many ways the story of the evolution of modern cardiac care.

Heart is the riveting, singular memoir of both doctor and patient. Like no US politician has before him, Cheney opens up about his health struggles, sharing harrowing, never-before-told stories about the challenges he faced during a perilous time in our nation’s history. Dr. Reiner provides his perspective on Cheney’s case and also gives readers a fascinating glimpse into his own education as a doctor and the history of our understanding of the human heart. He masterfully chronicles the important discoveries, radical innovations, and cutting-edge science that have changed the face of medicine and saved countless lives.

Powerfully braiding science with story and the personal with the political, Heart is a sweeping, inspiring, and ultimately optimistic book that will give hope to the millions of Americans affected by heart disease.
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  • Scribner | 
  • 352 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781476725390 | 
  • October 2013
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Vice President Cheney

June 2010

If this is dying, I remember thinking, it’s not all that bad. It had been thirty-two years since my first heart attack. I’d had four additional heart attacks since then and faced numerous other health challenges. Now, in the summer of 2010, seventeen months after I left the White House, I was in end-stage heart failure.

On a trip to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, in May, it had become clear my weakened heart could not tolerate the high altitude. I returned to Washington on an emergency flight, and as the plane took off, I realized I might never see my beloved Wyoming again. Since... see more

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