“My Chances of Survival Were Fifty-Fifty.”
February 5, 2021
Billy Noordin thought it was food poisoning when he came down with the worst stomach illness of his life. It was so concerning that his wife convinced him to go to the hospital. Shortly after his arrival in the emergency room at Valley Hospital, his doctors quickly determined that the problem was not his stomach – but his heart.
Two unexpected diagnoses
Noordin, 67, has a history of high blood pressure. After he arrived at the ER, his doctors observed that his blood pressure levels were high. They also discovered something that he did not expect. He was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, or Afib. This is a quivering or irregular heartbeat, which may sometimes have noticeable symptoms, but not always. “I couldn’t believe it,” Noordin says.
Even more urgent, further examination by cardiothoracic surgery specialist Quynh Feikes, MD, found that he had a tear in his ascending aorta and would need surgery right away. The aorta is the large blood vessel branching off of the heart, and a tear like Noordin had can be fatal. High blood pressure can be a risk factor for this condition, and vomiting can be one of a number of possible symptoms. “I was lucky that Dr. Feikes did more tests. She said it was going to be a long operation, and my chances of survival were fifty-fifty,” Noordin says. “This is Vegas. Fifty-fifty is better than zero. I said, ‘OK, let’s do it.’”
With skilled surgical care, Noordin came through the procedure successfully. Dr. Feikes did an excellent job, he says. “That why I’m still alive today.” He continued his post-surgery care at the hospital with support from a dedicated team of doctors and nurses, including Mohi Alkadri, MD (pictured here with Noordin and Dr. Feikes). “All the nurses and doctors were absolutely A-plus,” Noordin says.
Today, he’s doing much better and is taking prescribed medications to help him manage his health and his blood pressure. He says he’s so grateful that his wife convinced him to go to the ER – and he’s so happy he chose Valley Hospital. “I believe the hospital I went to is one of the best in patient care,” he says. “They did an excellent job. I never had a moment of doubt.”