Name: Ted Knight
Age at time of Dissection: 67
Type of Dissection: Both Ascending and Descending
Date of Aortic Dissection: 27 July 2015
Tell Us Your Story:

Late afternoon on July 27, I was struck with a tremendous, searing pain in my chest, the kind that clearly says, “something terrible just broke”. I went to the floor of my living room with my startled wife asking, “what is it”? She called 911, and moments later paramedics arrived to whisk me off to a small hospital nearby. I am fairly well read about cardiac maladies, having just had an aortic valve replacement 7 weeks earlier.

I pleaded for a CT scan, feeling confident I had not had a heart attack. A heart cath had been performed several weeks previous, and coronaries looked good. After a CT was done, the doctor on call came in looking rather pale and told me I had suffered from an aortic dissection, and I needed to get into an operating room immediately or I would die. My recent, previous AVR surgery was done at Methodist, Debakey Heart Center in Houston.

I live in Dallas. I am one of Jehovah’s Witnesses, so a blood transfusion was out of the question, placing me in an extremely precarious place. That is why I went to Houston Methodist in the first place, because of their world class bloodless surgery program, and surgeons second to none. No hospital in all of Dallas would touch me, as the on call doctor discovered with frustration and dismay. I simply asked him, “please help me get to Houston”. He looked at me for a moment, and said ‘OK, I will help you”.

My doctor in Houston was on call, and I was flown by CareFlite to Houston. I arrived at the hospital in just over an hour, and after seeing one of the sweetest faces I’ve ever seen, my doctor, I was whisked into the operating room, where for the next 7 hours I was as close to death as a living person can get. I later slowly awoke in ICU, realizing with utter gratitude, and amazement I was still alive.
5 weeks have passed, and I am recuperating at home in Dallas.

I have a lot of pain, which is reasonable considering I had my chest opened 7 weeks earlier for AVR surgery. Once is tough enough. Another one right on top of the first will let you know what you are made of. I am 67 years old, active and in good shape, but I met my match with this. Deep, hypothermic circulatory arrest is nothing to overlook lightly either.

I believe it has profound, lasting effects, as does simply enduring the super – shock of having an aorta removed, and replaced with a graft.I am well aware that very few people survive the catastrophe of an aortic dissection, and I will dignify the heroic efforts of all the people and
circumstances that coalesced to save a life I will live with renewed gratitude and awareness.