JUDAS PRIEST guitarist Richie Faulkner has returned home after major heart surgery and is currently recovering.
Faulkner’s surgery took place at Rudd Heart and Lung Center at UofL Health – Jewish Hospital in Louisville, Kentucky after suffering an acute cardiac aortic dissection while playing on stage with JUDAS PRIEST at the Louder Than Life festival on September 26.
“He was only four miles away, but miles equal minutes and he did not have many to spare,” said Dr. Siddharth Pahwa, cardiothoracic surgeon with UofL Health – UofL Physicians. “Mr. Faulkner is alive today because the stars aligned. He had an outstanding emergency care team, he was close to a world class heart center, and he was quick to recognize he needed help.”
The UofL Health – Jewish Hospital cardiothoracic surgery team, led by Dr. Pahwa, also included Drs. Brian Ganzel and Mark Slaughter. (No, not the frontman from the late 80’s/early 90’s glam metal band SLAUGHTER, but that would be kind of cool if it was).
The surgery took approximately 10 hours to complete.
Earlier in the week, Faulkner described his medical emergency, writing in a statement: “As I watch footage from the Louder Than Life festival in Kentucky, I can see in my face the confusion and anguish I was feeling whilst playing ‘Painkiller’ as my aorta ruptured and started to spill blood into my chest cavity.
“From what I’ve been told by my surgeon, people with this don’t usually make it to the hospital alive,” he added. “Five parts of my chest were replaced with mechanical components. I’m literally made of metal now.
“The amazing Heart & Lung Center was 4 miles away from the gig site — if it had been further away … We can always drive ourselves crazy with these things, but I’m still alive thankfully. Whatever the circumstances, when watching that footage, the truth is, knowing what I know now, I see a dying man,” the 41-year-old said in his statement.
Faulkner also encouraged fans to learn from his experience and closely monitor their heart health.
“This came totally out of the blue for me — no history of a bad heart, no clogged arteries etc. … My point is I don’t even have high cholesterol and this could’ve been the end for me. If you can get yourselves checked — do it for me please,” he said.