FAYETTEVILLE — Fayetteville Mayor Lioneld Jordan won’t undergo surgery for a carotid artery and is expected to return to work today.
“As of now, he has a clean bill of health,” said Chief of Staff Don Marr. “He’s had tons of tests and blood work done and everything checked out just fine. The doctors will continue to monitor him.”
Marr delivered the update on Jordan’s condition to the City Council during an agenda session Tuesday night.
Jordan stepped away from his active schedule Monday after experiencing an episode that caused him to have vision problems. He blacked out while at the University of Arkansas to sign a proclamation for Make a Difference Day on Oct. 16.
“I didn’t have a stroke or pass out,” Jordan said. “It was just temporary vision loss; like a white sheet came over my eyes. Then, I started experiencing double vision.”
He was taken to the emergency room at Washington Regional Medical Center by Dr. Hershey Garner, who was at the university event. He was released after an examination. Jordan was seen by an ophthalmologist, a physician who specializes in the eyes, who diagnosed the situation as lateral rectus palsy — a nerve disorder that causes people to see two of the same image. Further testing discovered the carotid blockage.
Though he initially suspected he might need surgery, Jordan learned Tuesday he won’t need any medical treatment.
“The artery on the right side of my neck is 100 percent stopped up,” he said. “There’s no successful surgical procedure that will unstop it.”
Jordan said his doctor, John Weiss, believes the blockage started developing about 20 years ago. During that time frame, his body developed vessels across the front of his brain that obtained blood flow from the left artery, which is completely clear.
“The doctor figures it was almost completely stopped up and two weeks ago, when I had that situation occur at the UA, was when it completely closed up and stopped a little blood flow,” Jordan said. “It caused the lateral rectus muscle to give way, which caused the temporary vision loss and double vision.”
The lateral rectus is one of six extraocular muscles that control the movements of the eye.
Jordan said most people with carotid arteries develop vessels across their brain all at once, resulting in a stroke. In his situation, the vessels developed over time, enabling them to function properly.
“The body is an amazing thing,” he said. “I feel great. The doctor said my heart is strong, my pulse is good and I’m in great shape. As long as my left artery stays clear, he says I’ll be fine.”
Jordan, who stopped by his office Tuesday evening, said he’ll return to his normal duties as mayor today.