What's Under Cheney's Skin...

Dick Cheney called it a "pacemaker plus," but the pager-size device that was tucked under the Vice President's skin and wired to his heart Saturday morning might just as accurately be described as a "defibrillator plus"--a portable E.R. that can, if necessary, jump-start the heart like the big electrical paddles that appear with such regularity on TV hospital dramas.

The model the V.P. received--a Medtronic Gem III DR--is a miracle of medical miniaturization, a fully automated, battery-powered, custom-programmed combination pacemaker and defibrillator that can monitor the complex rhythms of the heart and correct any abnormalities it discovers with carefully measured pulses...

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