WASHINGTON — Vice President Dick Cheney was back at work Wednesday, a day after his release from the hospital where he underwent "urgent" angioplasty surgery to reopen a partially blocked artery.
"He's resuming his normal schedule," an aide to Cheney said.
Although President Bush has said he did not expect Cheney to cut back on his duties as one of his administration's most powerful officials, one newspaper Wednesday quoted close friends of the vice president as saying they were concerned his work load could aggravate heart problems that have long plagued Cheney.
Aides said Tuesday Cheney planned to sit in on a meeting and lunch with Bush and South Korean President Kim Dae-jung and then head to Capitol Hill for talks with Republican members of Congress.
At home Tuesday, where the 60-year-old was said to be resting following Monday's angioplasty, Cheney read mail, made telephone calls, checked on the renovations and helped to unpack boxes.
The vice president and his family moved into their official residence on the grounds of the U.S. Naval Observatory last Friday.
Bush said on Tuesday he did not expect Cheney to cut back on his duties.
"I'm not a doctor ... but I don't think he needs to cut back on his work. This country needs his wisdom and judgment," Bush told reporters in Chicago where he was pushing his tax plan.
Bush said Cheney was "plenty strong and plenty capable" of carrying out his work load.
The vice president has had four heart attacks since 1978, and the latest problem raised anew questions about his health in high office. Doctors said the likelihood of Cheney finishing out his term was "very high."
Cheney friend says should cut back on duties
The New York Daily News on Wednesday reported that close friends of Cheney were saying he should cut back on his duties. "Bush has given him every tough job in the world, and the stress of that is contributing to these problems," the newspaper quoted what it said was one of Cheney's closest confidants as saying.
"If it were me, I'd go to the President and say, 'I'll do these four things, but I'm not doing that one,"' the friend said. Cheney ran Bush's transition, is a top security aide, runs a group developing an administration energy policy and played a key role in developing the president's 2002 budget request.
Cheney checked into the hospital on Monday after several bouts of chest discomfort. Preliminary tests showed he had not suffered a heart attack.
"The angioplasty was necessitated by a common complication ... not the progression of his heart disease," Mary Matalin, counselor to the vice president said on Tuesday. "No work restrictions have been placed on the vice president."
Matalin said three tests of cardiac enzymes—markers for diagnosing heart attacks—were normal, "indicating no damage to the heart muscle."
Doctors performed a balloon angioplasty procedure in which a tube was inserted in the upper leg and into the afflicted artery. A balloon was inflated to clear the blockage, and a mesh pipe called a stent was inserted to hold the artery open.
A stent had been placed in the same artery last November. Cheney's cardiologist, Dr. Jonathan Reiner said this stent had been holding fine except for "one spot at the origin of the stent which was about 90 percent narrowed."
Reiner said such narrowing occurred in about 20 percent of cases and there was a 40 percent chance of it happening again.