Heart surgery

JUDAS PRIEST’s RICHIE FAULKNER Talks Second Heart Surgery: I Feel ‘Strong’ and ‘Healthy’

JUDAS PRIEST guitarist Richie Faulkner released his recent revelation that he had undergone a second heart operation in early August. The latest operation took place almost a year after the 42-year-old British-born musician suffered an acute cardiac aortic dissection while performing at the stronger than life festival, a short distance from the Rudd Heart and Lung Center at UofL Health – Jewish Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky. It took the hospital’s cardiothoracic surgery team, led by Dr. Siddharth Pahwa and also including Drs. Brian Ganzel and Mark slaughterabout 10 hours to complete Richiefirst surgical intervention, a replacement of the aortic valve and the ascending aorta with replacement of the hemiarch.

Talk to This fuzzing rock show at the beginning of last week, Richie said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “I actually just got back from cardiac rehab this morning. I had to go in again for another open-heart surgery around five [or] six weeks ago. They found something just before the European stage [of JUDAS PRIEST‘s world tour]. And it was basically a hole in the repair and there was a leak – I had basically caused a leak in there – and it was causing a sac to form around my heart. So they found it just before the European stage. And the surgeon said it was good for me to do Europe, [so] I was actually on tour in Europe, playing in Europe with this bag and a leak in it. This meant that when I returned from Europe two days later, I was back in hospital for another open-heart operation. And I’ve been recovering ever since. So, again, the surgeons and doctors were all saying there was enough recovery time to be able to recover before the next group of appointments in mid-October. And I’m fine. Like I said, I was in cardiac rehab this morning. I feel fit; I feel strong. But that’s obviously why it had to be… There was a festival in Sacramento [Aftershock] from which we had to withdraw, because I could not have done it. I needed that eight or nine week recovery time. That’s why we had to withdraw this festival. So, yes, I’m fine – I feel strong, healthy. But yeah, it was a bit daunting, to be honest, to tour Europe knowing it was happening. But you have to trust the doctors, and it went well; I take back.”

When the interviewer pointed out that it was the first birthday of Richiefrom the first open-heart operation to the time of the chat, Faulkner said: “A friend of mine called me a few days ago to wish me a happy birthday, because he’s, like, I have a new one… Because they literally turned off my brain and they’ve bypassed the heart, so it’s almost like you die. So it’s almost like they bring you back to life and you have a new… It’s almost like your second life, so joking at half, he wished me a happy birthday because it’s almost like I’m born again. So, yeah, it’s like a birthday, a birthday – whatever you want to call it. But it’s been a tough year. But I’ve had a great support system, both at home and the surgeons and the doctors and everything. And also the band and everything. And also the fans – the fans have been a big support, and I can’t thank everyone enough.”

Two weeks after his first operation, Faulkner told reporters that he felt a sharp pain coming down from the stage. “That’s when it exploded,” he said.

“The more I read about it, the more it amazes me to think I even made it to the hospital,” he added. “The time I was really in pain and when I showed up at the hospital and when we were having surgery, that was a long time. The more I read about it, the more incredible – this time frame time – I don’t know how I’m still here today.”

Pahwa told reporters that the chances of survival for anyone with FaulknerDisease is about 10%.

“There are about 70 to 80 percent of patients who have a ruptured aorta who never make it to the hospital,” said Pahwa.

Faulkner said he had no history of heart complications and the food came completely “out of the blue”.

“My point is, I don’t even have high cholesterol and that could have been the end of it for me,” he said. “If you can get checked, please do it for me.”

Aortic aneurysms are “balloon-shaped bulges in the aorta, the large artery that carries blood from the heart through the chest and torso,” according to the US Centers for Disease Control. Dissections occur when “the force of pumping blood can split the layers of the arterial wall, allowing blood to flow between them”.

The doctors said Faulkner would continue to be monitored and would receive a CT scan every six months for the first year.

After stronger than life, JUDAS PRIEST postponed the rest of the US dates of his 50th anniversary tour, dubbed “50 years of heavy metal”. The shows have been postponed to March and April 2022.

Faulkner joined PRIEST in 2011 replacing the original guitarist KK Downing.

Richie was formerly the guitarist for the backing band for Lauren Harrisdaughter of IRON MAIDEN bass player Steve Harris.

Faulkner and his girlfriend Mariah Lynchold man’s daughter DOKKEN guitarist George Lynchwelcomed their first child, a baby girl named daisy maein July 2020.