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After Heart Failure, Cheney Keeps Ticking

After Dick Cheney had a partially artificial heart installed last summer, the former vice president literally no longer has a pulse. But the healthier, active Cheney told Fox News Sunday's Chris Wallace that he doesn't have many complaints these days.

"I've been blessed with the wonders of modern medical technology," Cheney, who suffered from heart failure in July, said during a rare one-on-one interview. "And I'm getting ready to go fishing at the end of this month, and working on a book, and spending a lot of time with family. So I haven't got many complaints."

The former vice president's heart functions with the help of a left ventricular assist device (LVAD) that helps push blood through his body. The device requires an external battery to operate, but Cheney says being wired up doesn't prevent him from enjoying his favorite hobby.

"You're not supposed to fall in," he said wryly when asked whether fishing could put him at risk of electrocution. "They don't like to have you swim with it."

"I'm a great believer in the technology, but you do have to be sensitive to it," he said. "You've got to be prepared to keep your batteries charged. But you get used to it. It's easy to handle."

Though LVADs are typically only installed to keep patients functioning as they wait for a heart transplant, Cheney, who has survived five heart attacks, did not say whether he plans to take that step. "I haven't decided yet," he said. "I'm not prepared to make any medical announcements today."