Name: Kirk Billingsley
Age at time of Dissection: 49
Type of Dissection: Ascending
Date of Aortic Dissection: 29 November 2009
Tell Us Your Story:

Hello my name is Kirk Billingsley and my aortic dissection occurred in my sleep. I was to travel to California for business the following morning and I went to bed early after feeling a strange pain in my neck. I do not remember anything after that point. I woke my wife in the middle of the night with what she had said were gurgling sounds.

Paramedics were called and I had already released my bowels and was being resuscitated. I was taken to a local hospitals ER that was not a trauma 1 site and was immediately flown by copter to the nearest trauma 1 hospital, the largest in the state. I was very lucky that the ER docs at my local hospital diagnosed my illness correctly and early on. I had flat lined when I hit the table just after landing where a team of surgeons began surgery. My tear was repaired, then I was opened again due to massive blood clotting and additional tearing. Somehow in IR I developed compartment syndrome in my right leg and it was a few days later that I had my leg amputated above the knee.

I remember none of this up to that point. I was in the hospital for 30 days. As you can imagine, this was quite a hard time for my family. My children both in middle and high school had to work through this ordeal as of course my wife did as well. I have always felt a certain amount of guilt having putting them through this. I learned to work with a prosthesis very well to the K4 level and even relearned to snow ski on two skis. I continued on as a regional v.p of sales for a few years but the traveling and pain in my residual leg was too great and took another position working at home with the same company.

I have since had my aortic valve replaced and after my last CAT I’ve been told it is failing and I have a 4.8cm aneurysm not too far from my repaired area. I see a Cardio doc at a children hospital that also studies and treats adult connective tissue disorders.

Marfans was ruled out and I have had genetic testing. Today I am more concerned about my children and their health. They have all been tested and treated by my cardio doc. They undergo heart scans yearly. So far nothing as been an indicator that there is anything wrong with them but they do have some side effects that have us deeply concerned. Right now I feel as though I am just waiting to die and I was a bit motivated by the ref in today’s Super Bowl that also had an aorta dissect So that’s my story. Thanks