The vice president was rushed to the hospital after complaining of chest pains, but no one in Mr. Cheney's inner circle suspected that a human heart was the cause.
"We had been operating under the assumption that he didn't have one," said chief of staff David Addington, who said that Mr. Cheney also has not had a soul since 1995, when it was purchased by the Halliburton Company.
At George Washington University Hospital, doctors struggled to contain their excitement about what appeared to be the medical anomaly of the century: the sudden appearance of a human heart in a 66-year-old man.
"It is too early to say conclusively," said Dr. Carol Foyler, head of the team of doctors who examined the vice president. "But so far, the beating and pumping sounds we are hearing in the vice president's chest cavity are very much consistent with his having a heart."
Dr. Foyler stressed that if the sounds emanating from Mr. Cheney's chest are those of a human heart, "This will contradict everything we thought we knew about Dick Cheney."
At the White House, spokesperson Dana Perino said that the sudden appearance of a heart in Dick Cheney's chest had motivated President Bush to schedule an MRI of his head.
Elsewhere, Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass) said that writing his memoirs would be "challenging," adding, "I can't even remember what I did last night."