Name: Tony Mullins
Age at time of Dissection: 52
Type of Dissection: Both Ascending and Descending
Date of Aortic Dissection: 20 January 2015
Tell Us Your Story:

In the mid afternoon of 20 January 2015, after just starting a weight lifting workout, I felt nauseous, faint, weak-legged and pain in my upper back. I managed to recover for approximately 30 minutes, made it to the locker room and to my car, then drove myself home.

After 1:30, still feeling no better, my wife returned from work, and I said we needed to head to the ER. I was quickly diagnosed with Stanford A/B dissection with extension into the left carotid, left subclavian, brachiocephalic and left common iliac arteries by the ER attending physician after CT scan, and he summoned the cardiothoracic trauma team.

A detached section of the intima was prolapsing into my heart with each beat. The surgeons performed a hemiarch replacement with dacron graft, leaving the other components of the dissection to treat medically or for later surgery.

Surgery took 7.5 hours, whence I spent 16 days in ICU — comatose for 6, intubated for 12 — then 5 days in rehab. I suffered bilateral lower lobe collapse and a lung infection, thus the long intubation.

I’m recovered, but am a chronic dissection patient with organs on the left side supplied by the false lumen, those on the right by the true lumen. I have some malperfusion in the lower extremities and severe gluteal claudication upon any exertion, but I’m alive.