Name: Diane Harroff
Age at time of Dissection: 54
Type of Dissection: Descending
Date of Aortic Dissection: 23 April 2013
Tell Us Your Story:

I was an ICU RN for more than 25 years. At work in April 2013, I became acutely dizzy, short of breath, and almost passed out. My coworkers took me to the ED and I was diagnosed with multiple acute pulmonary embolism I was admitted to ICU and later in the morning suffered 2 cardiac arrests due to the clots in my lungs. I had a total of 45 minutes of CPR and was lucky enough to survive. I spent 9 days in the hospital and went home. I complained from the time I woke up in the ICU about upper back pain between my shoulder blades. I returned to work on light duty in August, but upper back pain never went away. On September 1st 2013, I went to the ED because I had pleuritis and a rapid heart rate. Because of my history of pulmonary embolism, they did a chest CT, which showed a type B descending aortic dissection from my clavicle down into my right leg.

I spent 4 days in ICU on two IVs to control my blood pressure and again went home. I believe my dissection was caused by the CPR to save my life in April 2013. I have been unable to return to work due to upper back pain which has never gone away after 2 years. Doctors have done many tests and are unable to tell me why I have the pain.

My vascular surgeon told me that he didn’t believe it could be from the dissection, but I see stories here from others who also complain of the same type of pain. My disability organization from my former employer is saying I have to go back to work in a “sedentary” job. I am trying to fight that but don’t know what will happen.