Name: Dave Leighton
Age at time of Dissection: 56
Type of Dissection: Ascending
Date of Aortic Dissection: 13 January 2011
Tell Us Your Story:

My Ascending Aortic Dissection occurred on the night of Jan 13th, 2011. At approximately 9:00 pm I was watching ESPN downstairs and was suddenly experiencing severe pain in my chest. It didn’t take long to decide this was serious. I stumbled upstairs, grabbed the phone, and dialed 911. I then ventured down the hall to wake up my wife. In the 15 minutes it took for the local Fire Department medics to get to my home, I’d dialed 911 two more times….I was in that much discomfort.

After arrival, the Medics hooked me up to their monitors and quickly determined that I was not having a heart attack, which may explain their non-emergency (no lights or siren, speed limit all the way) transport of me to Valley General Hospital in Monroe, WA.
I believe a lot of credit for my survival goes to the E-Room Doctor at Valley General (I wish I knew her name). She made the decision quickly to get me into the CT Scan. Once that determined a dissecting aneurysm, things started happening very fast.

The Dr. rushed into the exam area I was in and explained that what I had was very serious, that I was about to have open heart surgery, and that a Cardiac Surgeon was waiting for me at Providence Regional Medical Center, Everett, WA. In no time they had loaded me into another ambulance, so, now I get to cross the screaming siren and lights ambulance ride off my bucket list.
It turns out the Cardiac Surgeon waiting at Providence to save my life is my neighbor from a couple of houses away, Dr. Patrick Ryan who did and awesome job putting me back together and saving my life.

When I woke up the next day in recovery I’m not sure I immediately remembered what had happened. I certainly didn’t know that I was now the proud new owner of a St. Jude’s carbon aortic valve and matching Dacron sleeve replacing part of my ascending aorta. I got that news from the nurse, Rick, who was taking great care of me….

In general I feel like the progress of my recovery has been excellent, although it’s sometimes hard to be patient waiting to get back to where I feel “100% normal” again……I feel truly blessed by grace of God to have survived something this serious. I’ve lost two co-workers and friends in the last two years to aortic aneurysms…….

Thanks for stopping by to view our stories. Please help me keep the site going by shopping at’s very much appreciated. Brian Tinsley founder of (please book mark the link once you get to for future purchases!)