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.