Brian, my compliments!! My name is Sewall Shurtz and on 2/23/2007 at 2:24 am my Aorta ruptured and I had a AAA descending dissection. They say that my Aorta just blew up from top to bottom. At the time I was working about 19 hours a day, was in the beginning of a divorce, etc. I am a United States Olympian. Was 4th in the 1956 Olympics and was running my own club. Knowing the after results, I am certain you can understand what I went threw. It is ALL RELATIVE. WE ALL handle it our own way. I have what they call a “leaker” aneurysm just above where the aorta enters the heart.
I consistently measure 4.4cm on the C scan and the vitals stay in the teens and one twenty over 65 range. Thank god for beta blockers. I think the frustration is that, as my cardiologist said to me “…..you can do whatever you like EXCEPT compete or exert to that level because if you do, the aneurysm will tear and you will die.” I find the problem is, what is the danger level and how do I know it.
The famous heart surgeon Ted Dietrich in AZ told me not to worry, yearly C scans will show if we need to put a “sleeve” on it. Understand that the operation is non invasive (thank God not to be cracked open again) and done much like a stent. However,it is pretty much recognized that there are not that many surgeons that do the operation. I live in Sacramento and am near some strong thoracic surgeons.
I really do not want to have that leaker tear open. I coach on a limited basis and at a very reduced level. I stay below 2,000mg of sodium and watch my life very closely. On a very realistic basis, have you seen any articles that even dare to guess at my longevity based on the AAA? I read once that less than 1% live with the explosion I had. My cardiologist says I am sort of special in that the length of the tear is pretty much unbelievable – as one surgeon said “your house was not yet ready.” Appreciate your time. I am all alone and I am certain you can appreciate the waters get rough.
Thanks for stopping by to view our stories. Please help me keep the site going by shopping at Amazon.com-It’s very much appreciated. Brian Tinsley founder of AorticDissection.com (please book mark the link once you get to Amazon.com for future purchases!)
I was one month shy of being 74. No problem, I am happy to have it published. I have seen the pics and have what looks like a Teflon hose for a major portion. Apparently, one of the miracles of my survival is that there was no damage to the kidneys.
When it hit I was sitting down and I felt the tear in what would be my sternum (I do not have one from birth), it lifted me up and threw me some 6 feet on too the floor. It DOES get your attention. My daughter tells me that they lost me twice in ICU. I remember the paddles once, the rest is lost in 5 days of la la land. Also about two months of memory. No matter my friend – I am still VERTICAL!!
There’s no real limit on how long you can live after an aortic dissection. I have patients who are 30 years out from their dissections and doing fine. There obviously is a risk of rupture but that is usually preceded by enlargement, so with careful monitoring and good surgical care(when necessary) it’s there is no reason to believe that you won’t be around for a long time. Most if the data on survival after dissections is limited by the overall health and the conditions that led to the dissection(htn, atherosclerosis) in the first place.
With regard to appropriate activity level – that depends very much on the exact nature of the dssection and the state of the aorta. In almost all cases competitive athletics is out due to tendency for people to push themselves to the limit when competing. Isometric exercise that involves straining is generally not wise as well since it tends to send the blood pressure up excessively.
David via iPhone