In a very open and frank interview on 60 Minutes to be aired tomorrow, October 20, 2013, former Vice-President Cheney revealed that the defibrillator he wore for his heart had been altered so that terrorists could not send a shock to his heart and kill him, according to CBS News, October 19, 2013. Cheney revealed that he had the wireless portion of the defibrillator disconnected so that terrorists could not send a message to it and shock him.
In the interview with Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Cheney discussed his new book, "Heart," in which he discussed the fact that 20 months ago he was a very ill man who had undergone many life-saving procedures, including the installation of the defibrillator which he had replaced in 2007. Cheney then had his cardiologist, Jonathan Reiner, disconnect the wireless function of the device. Years later Cheney was watching an episode of Showtime's hit "Homeland" in which a fatal signal was sent to someone's defibrillator. Cheney told Dr. Gupta that he was aware of the real possibility of something like that happening and that the "Homeland" episode that he saw was very realistic. When asked by Dr. Gupta what went through his mind while watching the show, Cheney stated:
"I was aware of the danger...that existed...I found it credible . I know from the experience we had and the necessity for adjusting my own device, that it was an accurate portrayal of what was possible."
Cheney has more than his share of "war wounds" from the numerous medical procedures he has undergone, including multiple angioplasties, and catheterizations as well as a quadruple bypass operation. On the question as to whether or not the job of Vice-Presient had a deleterious effect on his health while Vice-President, Cheney emphatically said, "No." Said Cheney:
"I simply don't buy the notion that it contributed to my heart disease. In fact...getting back to work...was important enough that I, in fact, kept them separate...I always did what I needed to do in order to deal with the health crisis in the moment."
At age 72, Cheney still is very active and feels great. He hunts, goes fishing, and stays as active as possible; although he does admit that he has had to give up skiing because of knee problems.
"I fish. I hunt...I don't ski, but that's because of my knees, not my heart. So, it's been a miracle."
This is in sharp contrast to the morning of the 9/11 attack (September 11, 2011) when his cardiologist, Dr. Reiner, discovered that Cheney a surge of potassium in Cheney's blood called hyperkalemia which presented an intense danger to his heart. That morning Reiner remarked to a friend:
"Oh great, the vice president is going to die tonight from hyperkalemia."
Fortunately Cheney did not die that morning and so far has beat all of the struggles put before him concerning his heart disease, including five heart attacks. He has been one of the most active former Vice-Presidents of modern times and continues to be physically active on a regular basis.
Cheney was Vice-President under President George W Bush from 2001-2009, was Defense Secretary under President George Herbert Walker Bush, and served as Congressman from Wyoming in the 1970's.