Category: Eighties

Jennifer Sanchez-87 (told by daughter)

Name: Jennifer Sanchez
Age at time of Dissection: 87
Type of Dissection: Ascending
Date of Aortic Dissection: 26 March 2016
Tell Us Your Story:

My Mother, aged 87, was pulling weeds in her garden and came in to sit in her recliner because of chest pain. My husband found her unresponsive and called 911. We have since been told it was an ascending aortic dissection, (involving the complete arch)and that without surgery (never performed) her chances were 10% less each hour.

My Sister came from Arkansas,thinking she was coming to a funeral, and my Brother drove in from Wisconsin, trying desperately to get here to New Mexico and hold Mom’s hand before she died.

It is now May 27, Mom is living back in her apartment, is of clear mind,
and everyone has gone home. Today she thought she might vacuum her place herself. ( I forbid that )
She is our miracle patient, and has the Doctors dumbfounded.

Glenys Dell-Daughter’s submission

Name: glenys dell
Age at time of Dissection: 87
Type of Dissection: Ascending
Date of Aortic Dissection: 19 April 2016
Tell Us Your Story:

My mother was diagnosed with a Type A aortic Dissection three weeks ago , the decision was not to operate due to her age and co morbitities. They said that she probably wont make it past two weeks. Her Blood Pressure has always been on the high side and now with just a GTN patch it is sitting at 150/90.

She is very pale and even just walking to the toilet she is breathless, her circulation in her feet is poor at times her feet and toes have a purple tinge to them. She is in good spirits and due to her Alzheimers she is unaware of how unwell she is. My Question is how do the doctors know her prognosis.

We had the intensive care specialist , the vascular specialist , and pallative care specialist tell us that Mum would not be around in 2 weeks. I cannot see anything happening anytime soon , which is good but I just wish they wouldn’t make these judgement. What would be the chances of Mum beating this condition?

Marilyn Greene-81

Name: Marilyn Greene
Age at time of Dissection: 81
Type of Dissection: Ascending
Date of Aortic Dissection: 14 December 2012
Tell Us Your Story:

I am the husband of Marilyn Greene who had an ascending dissection on December 14, 2012. Last December we celebrated the first year anniversary of her operation.

Marilyn had no advance symptoms or problems. She passed out while cooking supper and I was standing nearby and eased her to the floor. She had stopped breathing and I thought she had a heart attack or stroke. I began giving her CPR – the latest version – I had seen demonstrated in a video but it seemed like an eternity before she began shallow breathing. I ran to the phone and called 911, resumed CPR again for a few minutes and then called our son who lives nearby on our farm. He was there in minutes and took over CPR – he is trained in the procedure. I recalled 911 and got the stupid set of questions that had little to do with our emergency. Then the paramedics got lost even though we live on a main highway just out of town. I called my daughter-in-law and she went to the driveway entrance and flagged the down the ambulance. I won’t tell you more but, needless to say, the experience was terrible.

We live in a small town about 50 miles from Birmingham and the University of Alabama Medical Center which has one of the best Cardiac treatment centers in the Nation. We contacted the air rescue service and she was flown by helicopter to the hospital. About one and a half hours had transpired when the emergency room doctors told me that she needed an immediate operation. I had never heard of this condition and questioned the emergency room doctor who looked young enough to be my grandson! I then called our family doctor and after discussing with him gave the OK to proceed. We were fortunate that one of the most qualified doctors in the city was available and within the next hour the operation was underway. Before the operation the doctor told us that she was lucky to be alive at this point. Only one out of ten made it to the operating room under these conditions and at her age. He said the operation could take anywhere from six to twenty hours! Her chance of survival was about fifty percent.

The doctor replaced the aorta from the heart valve up to the carodid arteries and repaired the valve and other areas. The operation only took six hours and she came through it wonderfully. The doctors and staff started calling her their little miracle lady! I cannot say enough good about the doctors in the Kirkland Group at UAB even though many years ago we lost a daughter and granddaughter with cardio myopathy. They both were heart transplant candidates but hearts were not available and the artificial heart (pump) was still very primitive at that time.

Marilyn is doing great now and we thank our wonderful doctor for giving us more time together. We celebrated our sixty-second wedding anniversary last March. God has truly blessed us.

William (Bill) H.-82

Name: William (Bill) H.
Age at time of Dissection: 82
Type of Dissection: Ascending
Date of Aortic Dissection: 14 May 2011
Tell Us Your Story:

I’m Bill’s son. It’s 1:32am, Sunday, May 15th. Dad had 8 plus hours of Dissected Aorta Surgery this afternoon (Saturday the 14th). It started the morning of the Friday the 13th about 5:00am. Two trips to the ER. One Friday afternoon/evening and then again this morning, Saturday. The doctor today (Saturday) must have put the S&S together because he ordered a CAT Scan.

When the results came in, there was immediate action with the ER staff and the doc. I figured when I heard them talking and told Dad he was going to have heart surgery. The doctor came in a bit later and confirmed it. I left Dad a few hours ago.

He is out of surgery and in Intensive Care on a ventilator. He looks good. Time will tell. I’ll write up the full story but right now I am too tired after about 48 hours of no sleep

Thanks for stopping by to view our stories. Please help me keep the site going by shopping at’s very much appreciated. Brian Tinsley founder of (please book mark the link once you get to for future purchases!)

Suzette and Mom-58 & 82

Personal Stories: Suzette and Mom

Dearest Brian,

Thank you so very much for this site. I no longer feel insane and now have the confidence to “speak up” at my visit to the cardiologist tomorrow. My Mom died New Years Day of 2008 of an aortic dissection. New Years Eve was her and my late Dad’s anniversary as well as my husband and I. She called early in the evening to touch base and mentioned she wasn’t feeling so well. At 82 she was a picture of health with some elevated cholesterol and controlled hypertension. Anyway she complained of mid back and neck pain and had experienced a streak of jaw pain out of nowhere that quickly resolved. I insisted on the 30 min drive to have her come stay with me.

When I arrived, her pain had increased and she had some nausea. I took her straight to the hospital in our community that specializes in heart attacks. Many things happened that night and since it was New Years Eve, as the ED started to fill up around midnight, she never got the CT that was ordered. Also the morphine had relieved some of the pain and since heart attack was ruled out she was admitted to the geriatric floor for overnight observation.

I left her at around 3am because she seemed stable. The next morning I was there with the MD when she coded. It breaks my heart every time I think of her last words pleading with me to do something. She lasted a couple of hours but didn’t make it to the CT machine which they had to have first before they would do Sx. The attending was very nice and answered all my questions. He suggested an autopsy at no charge and since she was going to be cremated I said yes. That was how the aortic dissection was diagnosed. At her funeral and later at a family re-union, with long lost cousins, we pieced together that her father had died in the exact same fashion. Healthy, then severe back pain, indigestion,hospitilized overnight, probably be fine — then BAM! Only back then he had no chance.

Anyway ———— even before my Mom died I had been experiencing mid back pain, burning chest pain associated with cardio level workouts. After 3 years of chronic anemia resulting in a hysterectomy (2006 age 50) I was ready to get back in shape. However when I began to significantly increase my level of activity I would get these symptoms. I don’t have pain during the activity just afterward and it lasts for a couple of days. Sometimes I have forced myself not to back off. No pain no gain– other times I do back off and I’m fine. Complete cardio work up revealed nothing.

That was 2 years ago. Along the way I was found to have a nasty mycobacterium infection in my lung which was removed via video-assisted thorascopy. That was in Mar 08. Now the symptoms are increasing and occurring more often. 2 weeks apart. Until now, I had decided not to back off no matter what. I did this for 8 weeks. Cardio/fat burn for at least 1 hour a day x’s 6 days per wk. plus yoga 3-5 times a week. The most recent episode was associated with a fleeting ache in 4 of my upper back teeth and a sensation of ice water in my veins going down my left arm along with the usual midback/neck pain/ burning ice pick in center of left chest lasting 4-6 hours. Left feeling yuck the next day.

No work out. I went to see my pulmonologist Mon for routine check up of MAC disease and described the episodes. She ordered angio CT done today (Wed.) and cardiac ultrasound tomorrow . I had never considered Aortic dissection for me until the other night (during an episode)– it hit me. I went online the next day but did not come across your site until Wed. Do you know if aortic dissections can go undected by CT? Or could you put me in touch with someone who may know. I’ve read many of the personal stories especially the female ones and they all seem to have been diagnosed with the CT. I have had 2 CT’s in the past 2 years and nothing mentioned heart abnormalities only the stupid lung thing.

The site you have developed is an excellent resource and I’m sure it has brought comfort to many people. While I hope my results do not indicate that I will be an ‘active’ participant- do know that if I am, I will be very grateful for a place to come for support.

I hope you are doing well and continue to do so for a long time……..


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