Abu Dhabi: Egyptian Ahmad Abdul Hamid had just become aware of a numbing back and chest pain for a few days when he decided to seek medical attention. But doctors at the hospital emergency room told him he had just six hours to live.
The 44-year-old account manager had suffered a tear in his aorta, the main artery that supplies oxygenated blood to the body, and the effect had reached the brain arteries. Doctors believed it would be a matter of hours before the blood supply to Abdul Hamid’s organs completely stopped and the condition became fatal.
Fortunately, a life-saving surgical repair meant that the Dubai resident, whose family lives in eastern Egypt, is now back home and feeling quite well.
“Even though my father and uncle passed away from similar aortic ruptures about two decades ago, it was still a shock to learn I could suffer the same fate. I could only manage to call my wife and ask her to pray, and am surprised even now that all went well,” Abdul Hamid told Gulf News.
Aortic dissections are a major cause of sudden death, even though their incidence is very rare at about three to four cases per 100,000 people per year internationally. Most people affected by it have a family history of the condition, or suffer from hypertension.
Abdul Hamid himself was quickly transported to Burjeel Hospital Abu Dhabi and rushed into surgery, led by Dr Walid Shaker, consultant cardiothoracic surgery and head of department.
“The nine-hour surgery was challenging because of the nature of the procedure. It involved the removal of the whole aorta and replacing it with an artificial one, as well as re-implanting the coronary arteries to the artificial tube to make sure that the heart received the required blood and oxygen,” Dr Shaker explained.
Abdul Hamid woke up in the intensive care unit the next day to the smiles of friends and well-wishers.
“Dr Shaker assured me all was well, and I wanted to go see my family very badly. But he said I should wait for two months and ensure that I am recovering completely without any trouble,” the father of four said.
“My wife and children were terribly afraid, and we feel that it is a miracle I am alive. I cannot thank Dr Shaker and his team enough,” Abdul Hamid said.