Dick Cheney's a lucky man: Though the former VP suffered his fifth heart attack in 32 years Monday, he's expected to make a full recovery. (Watch an AP report about Dick Cheney's recovery.) How rare is it to survive that many heart attacks? Very, says Washington Hospital Center cardiologist Edward I. Morris: Few people make it through more than two. In fact, only a handful of public figures have survived five or more cardiac attacks. THE WEEK looks back:
DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER
34th U.S. president, World War II commanding general
Survived seven heart attacks: Eisenhower's first and most famous attack, in 1955, incapacitated him for at least seven weeks, leaving vice president Richard Nixon in charge. His second and third heart attacks were in 1965, after he was out of office. Eisenhower had four more attacks between April and August of 1968, with his doctors celebrating his "miraculous recovery" from his seventh heart attack. He died in March 1969.
Actor, best known for the "Pink Panther" films and "Dr. Strangelove"
Survived eight heart attacks: He suffered his first in 1964, and endured another roughly every other year until 1980, when his fatal ninth heart attack struck him while he was lunching at London's Dorchester Hotel.
First president of post-Soviet Russia
Survived at least five heart attacks: All occured while he was in office, the first three afflicting him during the 21-month-long war between Russia and Chechnya. He secretly suffered another cardiac arrest during his 1996 reelection bid — specifically between the first and second rounds of voting. He celebrated his victory with some crazy public dancing, presumably designed to make him appear the picture of health. Another attack hit him while he was en route to Ireland; he refused to disembark from his plane, raising suspicions that he was drunk.
Career U.S. diplomat, credited with convincing Lyndon B. Johnson to start winding down Vietnam
Survived "perhaps" 9 heart attacks: Habib weathered his first massive heart attack in 1975, after he'd completed a diplomatic trip to the Middle East. His third heart attack persuaded him to retire from the State Department in 1978, but his retirement lasted about a year. A tenth heart attack in 1992 killed him.
A British child who became a media sensation after undergoing a heart transplant as an infant
Survived six heart attacks: A birth defect caused Chambers to suffer six heart attacks before she was 18 months old, After living for 100 days on an artifical heart, she received a heart transplant, but lived for only one more year.
Billionaire Australian media tycoon and cricket visionary
Survived eight heart attacks: One of Packer's heart attacks, in 1990, left him dead for eight minutes. When he was revived with a defibrillator, he was so grateful that he bought defibrillators for all the ambulances in the Australian state of New South Wales (where the devices are still known as "Packer Whackers"). After coming back from the dead, he quipped: "The good news is there is no devil. The bad news is there is no heaven."
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