Gordon’s Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm is in the Rear View

“I just love transporting that precious cargo,” says Gordon Carpenter, bus driver for Ewing schools. “Dr. Al-Dallow helped me keep my job.”

In order to transport children, bus drivers in Illinois are required to pass a few tests including a medical physical. For Gordon, that meant a trip to get his yearly physical in Mt. Vernon. In June of 2015, Gordon got the bad news. He did not pass.

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Preventative Screening

Are you:
  • A man age 65-75 years of age who has smoked 100 or more cigarettes in your life?
  • A man or woman with a family history of abdominal aortic aneurysms?

If the answer is YES, Medicare offers a one-time abdominal ultrasound AAA screening to qualified patients. There is no time limit for obtaining this exam and there is no Part B deductible or coinsurance/copayment applied to this benefit. Talk to your physician today about the benefits of AAA screening.

Test Performed at
Cardiovascular Diagnostic Center
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Something Evil Lurks Within

Six years ago, Gordon lost his mother due to an abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA), a condition where the largest blood vessel in the body, the aorta, becomes enlarged. The most common place for one to occur is in the abdominal aorta. Unfortunately, there are no symptoms until it ruptures, then it can be deadly.

Gordon’s primary care physician, suggested that he have an ultrasound. He was at risk for AAA himself since heredity can play a factor. To his surprise, indeed he did have an aneurysm.

Until this year, Gordon’s aneurysm was routinely monitored for size, changes, etc. Upon hearing the news that he would not be able to drive the bus, Gordon needed to take action.

“I had seen an article in the paper about Dr. Raed Al-Dallow, (interventional cardiologist at Prairie Heart Institute) and that he was a specialist in this area for AAA,” said Gordon. “I got some good recommendations from my neighbors and asked my doctor if I should be seeing him.” His doctor gladly made the referral.

The Repair

The safest method for treating Gordon’s heart condition was an aneurysm repair under local anesthesia rather than general anesthesia. This required using a newly developed procedure called percutaneous aneurysm repair (PVAR).

PVAR procedure involves the placement of an endovascular stent graft via small skin punctures, to seal off an aneurysm and create a new blood flow path.

“Having no incisions and no general anesthesia enables the patient to recover quickly and return to their work or usual life typically with three days,” said Al-Dallow.

“I am just absolutely amazed at the technology,” said Gordon. “I had him show me a sample of the device he was going to put in me.”

On August 24, after the procedure on and an overnight stay at Memorial Hospital of Carbondale, Gordon was back at home. “I really felt good ever since the procedure was done. A little pain, but that’s to be expected.”

In 90 Days Gordon Expects the Green Light

Gordon is now on a mission to get his bus driver’s license reinstated. “According to the State, I have to wait 90 days, but based on my last CT in September my aneurysm is all good.” In November he hopes to be back doing what he loves. “I’ve driven some of those kids since they were in kindergarten. I miss them so much.”

About his experience, “Dr. Al-Dallow prolonged my life,” said Gordon. “And I’m so totally impressed with the degree of professionalism of everyone at Memorial Hospital of Carbondale.”