Name: Mike Kay
Age at time of Dissection: 52
Type of Dissection: Descending
Date of Aortic Dissection: 19 December 2011
Tell Us Your Story:
To start with my story, I was diagnosed with a descending aneurysm the morning of my aortic heart valve replacement for a bicuspid aortic valve back in October 2000. The aneurysm was confirmed during surgery but it was not large enough for them to repair at the time. I received a St Jude’s mechanical valve and life was great after recovery.
Fast forward 12 years and while I was at work I suddenly had excruciating pain in my chest. I made it back to my office and ran the symptoms of a heart attack through my head but I wasn’t having radiating pains to my arms or neck. I got up and walked outside and a waved over a fellow employee. I walked back to my office, sat down in the chair and then the pain really settled in. The “elephant on my chest” to pain radiating from my chest to my back and lower back. My friend called 911 and the journey began.
I was transported to the local hospital where my surgeon who had installed my heart valve and diagnosed my aneurysm was on rounds. He knew right away what the problem was (he had been watching it since the diagnosis through CT’s). After the 3D CT confirmed the dissection, I was also told that my aorta was a aneurysmal mess.
I was transported to an Orlando hospital where I was suppose to have the aneurysm repaired. After three days of planning the surgery it was decided that I would be going to Shands at the U of F for surgery. OH NO!! Gator country for a Hurricane fan. (have to have humor, for life is truly short).
I was transported to Shands via ambulance (took two ambulances, the first broke down after 30 minutes on the turnpike) and after spending six hours in the CICU I was told that I would have surgery the following day. Fifteen minutes later after my BP dropped out I was wheeled to surgery where Dr. Martin and Dr. Ramoa repaired my further dissecting aneurysm.
After 4 hours of surgery my family was notified that I had made it through the tough stretch of the surgery and after another 6 hrs of surgery was wheeled in to the same CICU.
All I can remember of the immediate post surgery was Dr. Martin asking me to move both my legs and saying “the patient has movement in all extremities”. He patted by legs and then it was lights out for almost 48 hours. My Christmas present that year was a new chapter of my life. That and having that damned ventilator removed.
I spent twenty days in three different hospitals. The majority of them in Shands surrounded by blue and orange (but I’m not complaining, just noting). I spent 27 minutes on the H/L machine this go round. I have 17 cm of 30 mm Dacron aorta and 7cm of 10 mm Dacron attaching my left subclavian artery to the graft. All that through an extended thoracotomy.
I am truly lucky to be writing this story. It didn’t look good there for awhile. While I do not like the “new me”, I have PTPS and I am taking meds that makes my short term memory like catching water with a sieve, I am happy to be alive. It is amazing how the human body reacts to pain, shock, surgery, anesthesia and recovery. I still suddenly remember things that occurred while I was in the hospital from the wild nacoticaly induced dreams to the gentle care that was given by the nursing staff. Email me if you have any questions about future surgeries or just want to chat.
Thank God for Modern Medicine!!