Name: Roelie Pomstra-Melein
Age at time of Dissection: 47
Type of Dissection: Ascending
Date of Aortic Dissection: 26 December, 2014
Tell Us Your Story:

Dember 26th I woke up in the morning and felt really bad. I felt tight in the chest and I asked my husband to call the emergency service. Luckily my husband did not discuss this and called the emergency services. We live in a small village and it is difficult to find our house so my husband went outside and walked towards the main road. After 10 minutes the ambulance came and the paramedics started their examination but could not find what was wrong with me. They took me to the nearest hospital in Assen. They thought maybe it is a heart attack pulmonary embolism. In the hospital I told the ER doctor what my symptoms were and that I was never been sick before. I work for the airline and I have never called in sick for 26 years. I do not drink, not smoke and work out for at least 4 times in a week. (Spinning, bootcamp and bodypump) The ER doctor immediately ordered a CT scan which was a really good decision.

This showed that I had a aortic dissection type A (ascending) and it was a massive one. I was rushed to another hospital in Groningen. The UMCG. They perform open hart surgery here. When I arrived in Groningen my children and family was there and I had to say goodbye. The situation looked so bad that the surgeons did not think I would made it throughout the surgery. It was the most horrible moment of my life. But I did made it! After 12 hours of surgery and being om the heart lung machine and my body was been cooled down for some time they brought me to the intensive care. I woke up 2 days later. The doctors told my husband to bring friends so I would wake up from their voices. I was on artificial respiration for several days. I also had a few complications: a pulmonary embolism and a thrombosis arm. At night I had deliriums, but the nurses told me that was quite common after such a long surgery. The surgeons ( I was lucky to be operated by the best thorax cardio surgeons in the hospital: Prof. Dr. Mariani and Dr. Koene) replaced the aortic arche. The aortic valve was in good order and did not need replacement.

After 9 days on ICU I was transferred to the normal thorax ward. My condition was very bad and it took me a lot of energy to walk a little. I also started to suffer heart fibrillation, but that seemed to go away. On January 12th I was released from the hospital and could go home! But after 1 day the heart fibrillations started again and I was being send to the hospital again. There I underwent a cardioversion. Then back home and I could rest for 6 weeks. During the emergency surgery my vocal cord has been paralized. I got speech therapy and now my voice is audible. After the 6 weeks of rest (of course I walked a little every day and did small things around the house) I drove in my car to the gym. There I started to work out again but of course in a very slow and easy way.

In the end of March I started the program of the cardiac rehabilitation. That consists of doing exercise in a group and cardio fitness. It is going very well! At the end of April I had a checkup with the cardiologist and he was satisfied and surprised how well I was doing. I asked of I could have 1 medicine less and he agreed. Now I have 4 medicines in Total: 1 blood thinner, 1 stomach protector and 2 high blood pressure tablets. I have seen a clinical geneticist because I would like to know why this happened to me. I am to young, no smoker, no t drinking alcohol, eating healthy, no overweight and never ever been sick, and exercising a lot. Now my DNA is been tested on connective tissue disorders. In July The results are expected. For the time being it is very important to keep the blood pressure low. I would love to get back to my work but that is the big question.

I am a flight attendant and the work is physically heavy. My cardiologist tells me I have to be very care full with static effort. So no more body pump. So I am Looking for other people with an aortic dissection type A and if they recognize any limitations with static effort. According to a lot of doctors I had a lot of luck to survive this aorticdissection and thanks to my condition I have had a very quick recovery. I hope to find some fellow sufferers! I live in The Netherlands but I hope that will not be a problem since we now can communicate via the mail! Thank You, with all the best wishes for your health,
Roelie Pomstra-Melein