Name: Olivia Moughon
Age at time of Dissection: 20
Type of Dissection: Both Ascending and Descending
Date of Aortic Dissection: 22 February 2010
Tell Us Your Story:

While I was still in high school I began having abdominal pain with nausea. Sometimes the pain was in my back, shoulder and chest. My parents took me to our family practice doctor who referred me to a gastroenterologist. I had x-rays, endoscopy, scans and nothing showed up. I saw several doctors, 3 gastroenterolgists, a surgeon. The doctors questioned us and thought I was faking this since they couldn’t find anything. After a while the pain lessened and I thought maybe it had gone away or at least whatever it was had healed itself. When I was 20 the pain came back and gradually got worse.

In January of 2010 I went on a ski trip with a group from our church. I had been feeling OK that day but suddenly I began having some of the worst pain I had ever experienced. I thought I was going to die the pain was so intense. I was taken to a small hospital near the ski resort and checked. The doctor thought I was possibly having a gallbladder attack but nothing showed up. When I got home my parents took me to the emergency room. They did a CT scan (without contrast), x-rays, and lab work but said everything was normal.

We found out later that the CT scan showed my heart was greatly enlarged and the radiologist recommended an echocardiogram. We were never given this information or told to follow-up with anyone. We were told everything was normal but that it still could be my gallbladder. My mother who is a nurse talked to a surgeon at her work and he agreed to see me. After he examined me he said that even though the tests were negative the pain probably was from my gallbladder. He took my gallbladder out laparoscopically in January of 2010.

I had the surgery without any problems but the pain continued afterwords. When I went in for my 2 week follow-up post surgery I told him my pain was no better. He put me on some anti-inflammatory. After another week or two the pain was no better. I went back to see the surgeon and he ordered a CT scan with contrast of the abdomen.

It took a week or two before the scan was done. The scan showed an abdominal aortic dissection. The surgeon called my mother and told her to get me to the emergency room immediately. I was scanned again but this time chest and abdomen. This scan revealed a large 8-9cm ascending aortic aneursym. I had surgery the next day to repair the aneursym and replace my aortic valve which was severly damaged. My descending aorta is dissected to the pelvis.

This causes a lot of pain. I have just completed genetic testing and I am positive for a variant of the Marfan gene. No one else in our family has had an aortic dissection or aneurysm that we know of. Even though I have ongoing problems I feel very blessed to be alive. My aneurysm was found just in time. I am on medication for my heart rate, blood pressure and pain. I have had to put off completing college but hope to be back in school in January of 2012.

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