WASHINGTON, Jan. 5 (UPI) -- Doctors say former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, 69, must decide within months whether to seek a heart transplant before he becomes too old to qualify.
Cheney received a heart pump in July in a move doctors said saved his life, The New York Times reported Wednesday.
The mechanical pump, a partial artificial heart, leaves patients without a pulse because it pushes blood continuously instead of mimicking a heartbeat.
The device poses significant risk of infection, doctors told The Times.
They are implanted it as a last resort either for permanent use or as a bridge until a donor heart can be found.
Cheney appeared noticeably thinner a few days before Christmas when he headlined a fundraiser at the home of his former aide Mary Matalin.
The event was for Maria Cino, a former Bush administration official seeking to replace Michael Steele as head of the Republican National Committee.
Cheney has been working on a book that is scheduled to come out this fall, his daughter, Liz said.