News broke last night that Dick Cheney received a heart transplant after 20 months on the cardiac transplant list. Cheney's old heart had been damaged by the five heart attacks he's had since age 37.
Heart transplants are particularly hard to come by: a little more than 2,300 were performed last year. And most new hearts go to people slightly younger than 71-year-old Dick Cheney.
According to [the United Network for Organ Sharing], 332 people over age 65 received a heart transplant last year. The majority of transplants occur in 50- to 64-year-olds.
Previously, Cheney had been forced to use a left ventricular assist device, a pump used to keep transplant candidates alive while they wait for a new heart. Cheney had complained about difficulty getting around with the device. Even so, he had said he was undecided about getting a heart transplant.
Cheney and his new heart are currently recovering at a hospital in Virginia.
[Image via AP]