Personal Stories: Sally, Steve’s girlfriend

It’s been not quite a year since i almost lost my boyfriend, Steve. The worst year of our lives. It all started back in January last year When Steve came home from working late and walked through the door and fell at my feet convinced he’d pulled a muscle in his back, he looked so ill, I called the doctor who arrived 4 hours later, and said his blood pressure was too high and needed to go to the hospital.

When he got there they immediately detected a faulty aortic valve, so off for a CT scan he went and that’s when the dissection was discovered. A type B dissection to the descending aorta.

He was immediately rushed to Southampton general hospital where they performed a aortic valve replacement, and , Wait for it , a reducing aortoplasty to the descending aorta. To this day I still have no idea what that is.


It was a very slow recovery, after spending 7 plus hours in theatre, he got pneumonia and I almost lost him. After spending 3 weeks in hospital I got to take him home with me, it felt like bringing a new born baby home.

They told me if the valve had gone undetected for any longer he wouldn’t have made it, but unknown to us he’d been having symptoms for a good year, terrible palpitations, but being a bloke he ignored it!

Its a year on and apart from taking masses of pills everyday and a quickly fading scar, you’d never know he been through all that.Oh and an incredibly noisy new valve!

The only major worry now, apart from more possible surgery in the future, is that our 3 year old daughter, Lia, has inherited Steve’s dodgy aortic valve, but she is still a lively 3 year old and is showing no signs of ill health and hopefully not for many years to come.

This is a fantastic site and its been a great help reading positive stories, as like you said it all seems to be doom and gloom about mortality rates and such like.

Thanks, Sally. Poole, dorset, england.

**Update** 5/3/2007

This is a very positive update for what has been a very difficult 16 months.

Steve had his yearly MRI scan at our local hospital three weeks ago, and we have now had the best news we could ever wish for, His dissection is healing itself, there is only a partial part of it a few inches long that is still widened, the top and bottom of his aorta has healed up, the middle bit is still dissected, but his cardiologist says hopefully it should carry on healing up like the rest.

Isn’t that just FANTASTIC!!!!!

The Black cloud that has hung around over our heads for the last year is drifting away and its just so relieving I could cry.

Also we had our 4 year old daughter tested and she is just fine, her little ticker is working perfectly.

So it just goes to show that there can be a happy ending to aortic dissection, and I hope this story brings hope to all of you out there who need to hear something positive amongst all this Heartache.

Best wishes to all.

Sally And Steve