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Doctor: If you feel his wrist, Cheney might not have a pulse

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Liberals have long joked that Dick Cheney doesn’t have a heart, and the former veep’s latest medical setback might be hard for him to prove otherwise if checked for a pulse.

Cheney, who likely has end-stage heart disease, was fitted with a special pump last week to help his heart pump blood through the body. The left ventricular assist device (LVAD) is consider a last step before a full heart transplant.

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“It’s reserved for people who have end-stage heart failure, and advanced and heroic therapies have been tried, and after folks have optimized evidence-based and guideline-recommended drug therapies,” said Dr. William Abraham, director of the division of cardiovascular medicine at Ohio State University. “Their heart conditions have progressed to a state where the mortality risk is very high and they turn to LVADs and transplants.”

Cheney’s doctors describe the operation as a success and say he is now recuperating.

But the device does have one almost creepy side effect. The former vice president will not have a pulse, according to Dr. Alan Stewart, director of the Aortic Surgery Program at New York Presbyterian Hospital, Columbia University Medical Center.

“This is a continuous ventricular assist device, meaning that blood is impelled. It is not a pulsatile device. So if someone were to feel Mr. Cheney`s wrist, Mr. Cheney will have no pulse,” Stewart told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Wednesday.

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“You can have a pretty decent quality of life on a ventricular assist device. The devices are smaller now and they`re quite durable. This device could be expected to last for three to five years and then could even be changed out for another device,” Stewart explained.

Austin Science Policy Examiner Steven Andrew notes, “The devices are implanted below the heart and powered by an external battery pack. Blood is taken from a hole created in the left ventricle, routed to a pump, and then injected directly in to the aorta, the primary artery emerging from the heart. Some of the newer versions reduce or eliminate the patient’s radial pulse, the beat that is felt on the wrist or neck.”

ABC News adds,

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Former Vice President Dick Cheney, 69, who underwent surgery last week to implant a pump to assist his heart, may be only one step away from a heart transplant, according to cardiac experts. They say he could find himself on a wait list for “months or years.”

Cardiologists say the former vice president has a left ventricular assist device (LVAD), which is often used as a so-called “destination” or permanent device, but in his case is likely a “bridge” that will keep him alive until he can receive a transplant.

Many patients with such pumps are described as not having a pulse, because the continuous flow of the LVAD — much like water circulating in a fish tank rather than pumping like a heart — can make the pulse indiscernible.

However, Susan Donaldson James reports for ABC News, “heart experts say that only patients who depend on LVADs for 100 percent of their circulation are essentially without a heartbeat. Cheney’s device is likely doing 30 to 60 percent of the heart’s work.”

A Democratic Underground post jokes that without a pulse, Cheney is now “one step closer to Darth Cheney.”

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Cheney has joked in the past that being considered a “Sith Lord” has its perks.

Hot Air’s Allahpundit blogged, “He’s been keeping a conspicuously lower profile lately than he did last year, when it felt like he was giving interviews every other week laying out The One for his terrorism policies. Whether that’s due purely to his health or partly to political concerns — not wanting to overshadow Liz, not wanting his poor favorable rating (which has been improving but remains negative) to hurt the GOP — only he knows, but congestive heart failure is bound to slow down even Darth Vader. Best wishes to him.”

This video is from MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show, broadcast July 14, 2010.

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‘Stand with Hong Kong’ shirts fill the stands at Nets game as NBA is protested for China subservience

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The National Basketball Association was protested on Friday for bowing to pressure from China.

The NBA has been harshly criticized for standing by the oppressive regime instead of standing in solidarity with the pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.

"Producer and activist Andrew Duncan bought 300 tickets to tonight's Nets vs Raptors game and is hosting hundreds of Chinese pro-Democracy activists to protest the NBA," New York magazine correspondent Yashar Ali reported Friday. "They're all wearing 'Stand With Hong Kong' T-shirts."

Photos from the protest:

1. Producer and activist Andrew Duncan bought 300 tickets to tonight's Nets vs Raptors game and is hosting hundreds of Chinese pro-Democracy activists to protest the NBA.

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Trump polling close friends over whether he should fire Mulvaney: report

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President Donald Trump is considering firing Mick Mulvaney, his acting White House chief of staff and director of the Office of Management and Budget, The Atlantic reported Friday.

"Mick Mulvaney's job was in danger even before his disastrous press conference yesterday, and his equally disastrous attempt to walk that performance back," The Atlantic reported. "The fumble could not have been more poorly timed: According to multiple current and former White House officials, many of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity to relay private conversations, Trump has been steadily souring on Mulvaney for weeks."

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Michael Moore predicts Mick Mulvaney will get into Heaven after confessing Trump’s quid pro quo

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Academy Award-winning filmmaker Michael Moore predicted acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney will ascend to Heaven in the afterlife during a Friday interview on MSNBC's "The Beat" with Ari Melber.

The host played a clip of Mulvaney admitting Trump's quid pro quo while seeking foreign election assistance from Ukraine.

"This man obviously is going to be admitted into Heaven," Moore said. "You know, he told the truth."

"If there was a movie version of this, somebody stuck him with a needle just before he walked out onto the stage there, a truth serum needle, and he just went on and on saying, 'Yeah, that’s what we do. Yeah, of course.' Essentially admitting there is a quid pro quo. In fact, there are many quid pro quos."

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