Paul Maiden-44

Name: Paul Maiden
Age at time of Dissection: 44
Type of Dissection: Both Ascending and Descending
Date of Aortic Dissection: 16 August 2012
Tell Us Your Story:

At around 9.30pm on the 15th August 2012 my husband came into our lounge where myself and our two teenage daughters were and calmly said he had a pain in his chest. I asked how bad it was, was it indigestion, heart burn? I even joked do you need me to take you to hospital are you having a heart attack? Paul said no he would be fine had a glass of water and went to bed. By 10.30 pm he was belching a lot which led us to believe he had trapped wind. Round about that time as he was laid in bed with the TV on he said the vision in his left eye had a black disc in it, but still assured us it would pass and he did not need to go to A&E. He had a very restless night and was up showered and going into work by 6.30 am. We have our own business and Paul is pretty much a work aholic. By 9.30am he was back home complaining still belching and complaining of being very cold. By 3pm he asked me to take him to hospital, we drove to the closest one and after a 30 min wait saw a doctor.

Paul’s BP was 180 (can’t remember the bottom number), he was sweating profusely and saying the pain was now in his stomach. He had an ex ray done, was put on the ECG machine which didn’t really show anything. By about 7.30 pm his BP was 230 (again can’t remember the bottom number), they then did a scan with dye in his veins, which showed the dissection.

I was told by the doctor that he needed emergency surgery and they had informed the consultant at James Cook University Hospital. I was taken to my husband, they had given him medication to try to control his BP, he was very calm, as he had been since the previous night (so brave). We were rushed in an ambulance (code blue) to the waiting surgeons at James Cook Hospital, amazingly through my weeping but trying to be strong for Paul we managed to joke and laugh with the nurse in the ambulance. We met the team of surgeons, anesthetists and nurses etc and typically my husband asked the consultant “will I be in work Monday?”.

Paul was in theater from 9.30pm for eight hours, they replaced the worst part of his ascending Aorta, oxygen to his brain was stopped for 11mins, apparently they had problems with stopping the bleeding, but aside from that all went well and he was in CICU by about 6am.

After three days Paul was still not awake, so he had a CT scan which we were told showed a firework display of brain damage. He was in a coma for 3 weeks, during that time we were told he would probably be severely disabled both mentally and physically. After 3 weeks he started to very slowly come round, he couldn’t move his left side, couldn’t walk, feed himself, speak, it was pretty horrible. After about a week and once off life support he was moved to the HDU ward, where over the next 2 weeks began to improve dramatically, two weeks later he was moved to the neuro rehabilitaion ward where he was expected to stay for at least three months.

Paul was discharged from hospital on the 26th October 2012 after about 10 weeks. He is back at work, got his driving license back in March 2013, we have flown to Spain four times. He has had his 6 month CT scan on the 24th of May and he is due to see his consultant on the 5th of June, we have our fingers crossed all will be well.

Paul’s dissection was caused by HBP, which really has no symptoms he is now on lots of medication to control it.

I can honestly say that this has been the most awful thing that has happened to our family, but we have got through it, we have cried, cursed, laughed hysterically, hated the surgeons who left Paul in a coma with the worst outlook possible but on the other hand they saved his life. We appreciate life more and don’t take things for granted as much. Paul’s consultants say he shouldn’t really be here and that his recovery has been amazing. After such a bleak prognosis thank god I still have my best friend.


Aortic Dissection Diagnosis Delayed


Debbie Pecoraro-52


  1. I guess the best thing I can say is try not to let the Disection dominate your life. See if you can get thru a day, dinner, evening talking with friends wife and not talk about it. My Disection was 9 years ago descending 22 inch from above my heart to where the Arotir splits to go down myleg. Never has gotten larger and no surgery. Lots of meds that just make me unable to do much physical, I have two cancers. So lucky to be here really enjoy the grands and my family. Struggle not to,let my health dominate my life. I coming to realize I’m about as recovered as I am going to be. Like you loving best friend wife. Good luck Paul

  2. Lynn Maiden

    Paul Oberle sr
    Thanks for your comments, it is nice to know there are people in the same or similar situation as yourself. This website goes to prove that. Paul and myself Hope all continues to go well for you. One day at a time, live life to the fullest, you never know what’s round the corner. That’s how we are now.

  3. Lynn Maiden

    Update 6th June 2013

    My husband Paul had his six month CT scan on the 24th of May, yesterday was his follow up appointment with his consultant. Paul had the section of Aorta replaced from his heart to the arch, his dissection continues down almost to the tops of his legs. The scan showed the graft to fine with no problems, it also showed a very slight increase in the size of the aorta. Overall the consultant was very pleased with the results, we have been advised to continue living life as normal, with good BP control. Next scan in six months then annually. Paul has survived a type A Aortic dissection and now His abdominal dissection is part of who he is. He is alive, and has made an amazing recovery in the last few months. My best friend is the bravest person I know and we will continue to live life to the fullest, this will not beat us.
    Sending our best wishes to anybody who reads this.

  4. Ronnie Phillips

    Paul you are a very strong individual your story is helping me cope with my own aortic a/b dissection that happened last August 10/2016. Thank you for sharing!!

  5. Michelke

    I’m really glad you posted your story. Ours is similar. I was just wondering how your husband is doing these past 3+ years since your last update. My husband is only 1 month post op so I’m trying to find ppl like you to share information about their outcomes thus far…
    Thank you and I look forward to hearing from you.
    Michelle, Ont, Canada.

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