A routine scan leads to life-saving treatment at OSF HealthCare Saint Anthony Medical Center

7/14/2023 - Rockford, Illinois

  • Tracy Becker

    Tracy Becker

  • Dr. Ayman Gheith

    Dr. Ayman Gheith

  • Dr. Syed Zaidi

    Dr. Syed Zaidi

Tracy Becker Dr. Ayman Gheith Dr. Syed Zaidi

A routine scan leads to life-saving treatment at OSF HealthCare Saint Anthony Medical Center

Tracy Becker, 50, of Machesney Park has a medical history of brain surgeries and neurological issues that require her to have routine brain scans to ensure there are no new concerns.

She sees medical professionals in Chicago, but her primary care doctor is Dr. Syed Zaidi at OSF Medical Group – Primary Care on Parkview Avenue in Rockford.

“Dr. Zaidi is the best,” Tracy said. “He goes over every single scan I have even the ones ordered by doctors in Chicago. Because he is so thorough, he found a tiny aneurysm in my brain and ultimately saved my life. I can’t thank him enough.”

Upon looking at the brain scan, Dr. Zaidi noticed something abnormal, which turned out to be a small aneurysm.

“I immediately sent over the scans to Dr. Ayman Gheith, one of our amazing neurointerventionalists,” Dr. Zaidi said. “He confirmed what I expected, and we then set Tracy up for the surgery to remove the aneurysm.”

Tracy had a left internal carotid artery ophthalmic segment aneurysm, according to Dr. Gheith.

“We treated it with a surpass embolization device,” Dr. Gheith said. “We caught the aneurysm before it ruptured, which is always the best-case scenario. When an aneurysm ruptures there is a very high rate of death.”

Less than 5% of aneurysm cases are in the brain. Aneurysms can develop from high blood pressure and habits such as smoking. They can also run in the family, which happens to be the case for Tracy.

“There have been nine people in my family who have had an aneurysm,” Tracy said. “And a few have passed away because of it. I am so thankful for the care I received and still receive at OSF. Dr. Gheith was so kind and informative during my surgery and recovery. I also can’t say enough about Dr. Zaidi. They both truly saved my life.”

Dr. Gheith explains that the symptoms of an aneurysm rupturing are the worst headache of your life, and it can even feel like your head is hit with a ton of bricks.

“Unfortunately, a very common way we discover an aneurysm is when they rupture and we have to perform emergency surgery,” Dr. Gheith said. “If you have high blood pressure, smoke or have a family history of aneurysms we definitely recommend routine scans. The earlier we catch an aneurysm, the better the outcome. To help prevent aneurysms, manage your blood pressure and quit smoking. Basically, what is good for your heart is good for your brain.”

Tracy wants everyone to learn from her story.

“Talk to your doctor about everything,” Tracy said. “Don’t be afraid or ashamed. If you are not honest with them, they can’t help you get better. Get your routine scans and be proactive about your health. I highly recommend Dr. Zaidi as a primary care physician. He goes above and beyond for his patients. Without Dr. Zaidi, I wouldn’t be here to share my story.”