Name: William Koch
Age at time of Dissection: 45
Type of Dissection: Ascending
Date of Aortic Dissection: 6 November 2016
Tell Us Your Story: As told by wife Cricket:
It was a normal Sunday. Watched football and then chores. We are in the process of remodeling our bedroom and Bill needed to get nails from our son’s house who lives about a mile away. He told me he would be right back. I continued the “demo” and my cell phone rang. At first it sounded like Bill was having a stroke as he said, “I….I….I….pulled over.” I immediately knew something was wrong. He told me where he was at and I grabbed my keys calling 911 at the same time heading out the door.
(Later I was told that I was actually Bill’s 2nd call. His first was to 911 who didn’t answer)
I reached Bill right as the ambulance arrived. He was rushed by ambulance to ER about 2pm of a suspected heart attack. Preliminary EKG was normal but still had chest pain and trouble breathing. Dr.’s kept asking what he ate for lunch and dinner the night before eluding to heartburn. They said they would keep him overnight for observation. I sent the kids home (boy 19, girl 15). As morphine wore off, pain increased and I insisted on a CT scan.
CT scan ordered. CT scan showed Thoracic Aortic Aneurysm causing an aortic dissection (rip). Cardiothoracic surgeon and team were immediately called. Surgeon explained seriousness of diagnosis and gave him a 35-40% chance of survival. Dr said mortality rate very high. Thank God his aorta (just) ripped because if it had ruptured he wouldn’t be here with us.
I called the kids to come back at 11:30pm to see their dad before surgery.
Bill went in to surgery shortly after midnight. Surgery done at about 5am. Dr said an anuerysm had been on his ascending aorta at least a couple years but it wasn’t found until it started to rip. They removed and replaced 7cm of his aorta.
Bill has 0 risk factors: non-smoker, low blood pressure, low cholesterol, 45 years old, athletic, not overweight, etc. Dr.’s attribute all of that to his survival but surgeon 100% sure genetic and insisted on having the children scanned and tested on a regular basis.
Bill has been home from the hospital a little over a week now. (He went to ER on Sunday and came home Friday) He is healing but gets short of breath just putting his socks on. Right now, we are just taking it one day at a time.