Category: Ascending/Descending Page 2 of 6

ANGELA SUMNER-47

Name: ANGELA SUMNER
Email: sumnerangela19@yahoo.com
Age at time of Dissection: 47
Type of Dissection: Both Ascending and Descending
Date of Aortic Dissection: 6 July 2012
Tell Us Your Story:

I am a wife and mother of two boys. On July 6, 2012 I woke up with a radiating stabbing pain and thought I was having a heart attack. I have suffered with acute hypertension most of my life and was on medication at the time. I was rushed to the local emergency room and thank God the emergency room doctor ordered a sonogram. I was then told to get my family members to the er.

To make a long story short, I was experiencing an aortic dissection from the top to almost the bottom of my aorta. I was then put on a helicopter and flown to the University of Pennsylvania. After about two weeks there, I was sent home. A week later my blood pressure was still out of control and I was once again flown to the University of Pennsylvania.

Two surgeries were performed. Corodic bypass and the next day my aorta was coiled inside. I have to see a cardiologist every three months for the rest of my life, however long that may be. I currently have no medical insuranc e and have been denied disability by the State of NJ and am now on appeal.

I need information to make the Department of Disability realize that I am not “fixed” and how serious of a condition this is. I do not feel sorry for myself and rarely mention my condition to people. I try to live each day like its my last. I was told by my surgeons to “change my lifestyle” and absolutely “no stress”. Can you help with info.

Lieve Daelemans-Kopp-64

Name: Lieve Daelemans-Kopp
Email: lieve@daelemans.com
Age at time of Dissection: 64
Type of Dissection: Both Ascending and Descending
Date of Aortic Dissection: 1 February 2014
Tell Us Your Story:

My name is Lieve Kopp, age 64, living with my husband near Leuven, an old university town in Belgium. When having an AD problem it is useful to be close to a university hospital.

On the first of February 2014 I suffered a B aortic dissection. I felt a sudden sharp pain in the sternum region, which after two hours radiated to my flank; it was worse than childbirth labor (I have had three natural childbirths). This happened at 1:00am as I was preparing to go to bed. We called our GP; expecting a heart attack she took an ECG but it was quite normal. After an initial painkiller injection, the pain did not substantially subside and an hour later a second shot followed, which helped somewhat. Being at the maximum dose and for lack of a proper diagnosis our GP told us to go to the university hospital emergency department.

A series of tests there did not produce a conclusive result, perhaps because I declined a CT scan of my chest because I had just two weeks earlier had one to control for the full recovery from pneumonia. The following two days I went through a few more tests; the gall-bladder was not an option because it had been removed many years ago (at age 33), leaving the stomach as alternative suspect. A gastroscopy was planned but not carried out. Finally after three days I was diagnosed with AD-B, and told that I would stay in hospital for some time, to start conservative treatment.

‘Some time’ turned out to be 10 weeks. My kidney values were poor, probably because of the B dissection; moreover I have three kidneys and a history of related complications that date back to when I was twenty. I had little appetite and was losing weight lying in bed almost all the time. On the basis of several CT scans, which showed an aortic inner wall with a tear that over time had progressed all the way up to the aorta arch it was decided to schedule an operation to insert two endo-prostheses into the upper part of the vein. Before going into this operation my general condition had to improve – I was using a wheelchair to move over distances beyond my room – and more specifically my kidney values (creatinine levels) had to come down considerably. This took weeks, and the numerous CT scans that use contrast liquids often worsened the situation. For weeks my arms and face were swollen because of kidney insufficiency, and perhaps (?) because of the various drugs I was given.

A fine balance between blood pressure control and kidney function had to be maintained, which was a very slow process.Ultimately things improved enough for me to continue recovering at home, with my husband present at all time, and by mid-June my condition had improved enough to schedule the operation, which was performed by Prof. Dr. S. Houthoofdt. It lasted some 7 hours and she ran into some complications because the subclavian artery was apparently of poor quality. The operation started with a caritido-caritido subclavian bypass, and subsequently a TEVAR endoprosthesis was inserted via the groin arteries. After a few days in intensive recovery, I returned to a standard room. I was hoping to recover enough to attend the our youngest daughter‘s wedding. Also, to my great delight the fluid in my swollen face and limps had suddenly disappeared after the operation, which might not be a critical result but I greatly appreciated getting back my looks.

However within less than a week the situation got worse again. One day I felt weak, had no appetite and at 10:30 pm started vomiting with my blood pressure was rising again (17 systolic). In another CT scan I was diagnosed with a full-fledged A dissection, from the trunk past the arch, – the inner wall tear had progressed all the way to the aortic valve, which was not functioning properly (1/3 only) as a result. My situation was deteriorating rapidly; the pericardium was filling with fluid and I had only a few hours to live. All this fortunately happened in the university hospital, and by 9:00 am I was told that a second operation was scheduled by 10:15am.

The cardiac surgeon was Prof. Dr. Rega.He later explained that he started the procedure without exactly knowing what he would find. After re-placing the ascending aorta (the A section) with a prosthesis, the shape of the aortic valve was largely restored and it did not need to be replaced with a synthetic one. This was an open heart operation; the blood circulation was taken over by a heart-lung machine, and my body temperature was lowered to some 12°C. The end result of the two operations was that apart from a few sections most of the upper aorta was replaced by, or reinforced with synthetic material. The second operation lasted 8 hours and it was not without risk. I suffered (and am still suffering) some short-term memory loss as a result, but things could have been considerably worse (paralysis of the legs, e.g.).

While in recovery in intensive care and still unconscious I suffered a cardiac arrest, but with 20 minutes of hard work I was successfully reanimated. After two days I was awake, talking to the children who were visiting, but I cannot remember anything. My son showed me a 15 minute video of the wedding, but I could not even recall having seen it.

However all in all the recovery went well. It is a slow process though; the first few weeks I could hardly step out of bed; I had lost 20 kg (45 lbs) of weight. I was extremely weak; my rib cage was hurting like hell (cracked ribs, a by-product of opening the rib cage for the cardiac operation and the subsequent reanimation), and I could not even move or turn around when lying in bed. By July 20th I was well enough to return home, with my husband taking care of me. I was moving from my bed to the bathroom in a wheelchair, and most of the time I slept – probably the best thing that could happen to me at the time. Nurses came in to check the sutures, and weeks later a physiotherapist came by to get me walking again. The muscles in my legs were wasting and weak, and I was losing a lot of hair, apparently a typical conse-quence of the long anesthesia, weight loss and my deteriorating general condition.
The recovery process was to take a year, and it did.

By January 2015 (11 months after the initial dissection) I was driving my car again, but only for short trips because I could not turn my head sufficiently, something that even today after another 10 months is not without its problems. The first major improvement was that my rib cage and sternum were healing and stopped being painful. Two months after the operation I could move through the house, and after some 7 months we went to visit friends for the first time. Today I can spend an afternoon with a friend, doing some shopping and enjoying a coffee after two hours of walking around. We go out and spend an evening with friends, but the next day I need to recuperate. The worst remaining problem is that my left upper arm is still hurting; I cannot move my elbow to shoulder height, which makes combing or drying my hair a problem.
I am taking morning and evening pills to improve blood fluidity and control blood pressure levels:
– Bisoprolol 2.5mg morning and 2.5mg in the evening (blood pressure control)
– Clopidogrel 75 mg in the morning (anti-coagulant)
– Coversyl 5 mg in the morning (blood pressure control)
– Amlor (Amlodipin) 2.5 mg in the morning (blood pressure)
– Total IP 80 mg in the evening (cholesterol)
– Metaformine 500 mg (blood sugar level reduction) – gives me acute diarrhea, looking for an al-ternative.

The combination has been changed quite a few times over the last 18 months; at times my blood pressure was too high, and more often too low. Adjusting the doses and combination of drugs has proven useful. When my feet are too swollen I take Burinex LEO 1 mg (a diuretic) which helps, and also lowers the blood pressure.

We have bought a blood pressure monitor, which I use with some regularity. In the meantime I can feel my blood pressure going up or down, even before taking a measurement.
The main problem is that my overall energy level is still low, and unlikely to improve much going forward. Most people do not understand or appreciate my condition, particularly because my looks have improved substantially over time, having gained weight again (+11 kg) and with (new, darker!) hair growing again. Their implicit assumption is that my physical condition has improved in line with my looks, but this is not so. I get tired quickly, and some days are worse than others. Moreover I was and still am suffering from painful knee joints. Before the dissection I was due for a knee operation, but it got cancelled. The problem kind of disappeared while laying down over extended periods of time, but returned when I started walking again. I do not think I will have a knee operation, at least not anytime soon.

Attending (noisy) receptions is tiring because it is hard for me to speak loud enough, and to stand for longer periods. Two months ago I attended a wedding party, and this was ok.
The warm summer temperatures tend to lower my blood pressure and during the summer months I pre-ferred to stay inside and out of the sun. Travel is limited as well; to avoid quickly changing blood pressure levels I was advised not to fly during the first few years. Long trips by car are probably also not a thing to do; I have not tried trips beyond 100 km.

At a psychological level I was seriously depressed during the months following the operation. I attended cardiac physiotherapy classes organized by Leuven University, and this helped somewhat. I went to see a psychologist who tried to lift my spirits. Overall I am ambivalent about surviving this perilous incident; the good news is that I am still alive, the bad news is that I do not have a real life, at least not by the standards I was used to. A mixed blessing. My time horizon is statistically limited, and I know that. Besides, other people’s time horizon is also limited, but they prefer not to know. I love to cook, and after starting to cook again, I felt better. The food improved too; my husband tried hard, but I prefer my own recipes.

This summer I experienced a minor thrombosis of a vessel that made me loose vision in my right eye for a few minutes. After that everything returned to normal. Subsequent testing concluded that this was a minor temporary clogging of a vessel near the visual nerve. Scary, but without consequences.
I did not have a history of high blood pressure, high cholesterol or elevated blood sugar levels. I have smoked for 40 years, but my lungs were in ‘amazingly’ good shape. A genetic analysis concluded that there was no genetic predestination, although a far relative (a cousin of my mother) also suffered a dissection. My children were advised to keep an eye on their aorta.

Ken Johnson-49

Name: ken johnson
Email: dis_isl_ken@yahoo.com
Age at time of Dissection: 49
Type of Dissection: Both Ascending and Descending
Date of Aortic Dissection: 1 March 2015
Tell Us Your Story:

I was walking thru a parking lot when i had a pain in my chest that went thru to my back, i went to the hospital they sent me to a larger city by ambulance for ct scan, 7 hours later i had the scan and was immediately flown to Calgary, had emergency surgery (12 hours) resulting in spinal cord ischemia. prior to this event 7 month earlier i had been electrocuted with 6000 volts 3 time before being blown off.

Has anybody ever heard of electrical injury weakening the aorta to result in a delayed rupture.thank you for any feedback.

Tony Mullins-52

Name: Tony Mullins
Email: tmullins@yahoo.com
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.

Keith Hudgens-57

Name: keith hudgens
Email: kqhudgens@gmail.com
Age at time of Dissection: 57
Type of Dissection: Both Ascending and Descending
Date of Aortic Dissection: 29 December 2014
Tell Us Your Story: Hey Brian I had to correct some typos. Can you please repost?
Thanks.

I was on the computer that night. I took a sip of my drink and then it felt like I was being kicked in the chest. I had severe pain and could not catch my breath. I thought I was having a heart attack because I had had double by-pass surgery two years prior. I woke my wife and had her drive me to the hospital, 15 minutes away. They placed me in the triage. By now I could feel the tearing moving to my abdomen. They did a CT scan and determined I had a type 1 aortic dissection.

The young ER Dr. was on two phones trying to find a location for treatment. UF Shands said they could take me. Dr Thomas Martin and team were standing by. It was too foggy to airlift me, so the Dr gave the EMT a bag of blood and a bag of morphine and said if you can get him there they are ready. 90 minutes later I was on the table. Dr Martin led a prayer and they began. My wife told me about the prayer. I was out 15 minutes into the ambulance ride.

The surgery lasted 13 hrs. They gave me a Florida sleeve, a Dacron graft and inserted a stent. I was in ICU for 3 weeks. My wife made a 2 hr drive every day to be with me. During my recovery I suffered mini-strokes and damage to my C1 C2 spinal cord.

I was then sent to a skilled nursing center to wean me from my Tracheostomy. Then I was sent back to my hometown to Brooks ReHab.
I blacked out several times and had to have a Pace-maker.

It’s now been 10 months, I’m back at work and feeling stronger every day.
However, I am a lot weepier. I can’t watch a sad movie or hear a sad story. People have commented that God has plans for you. I thought about it and I agree. God wants me to be with my wife and make her happy. He answered her prayers.

Keith Hudgens-57

Name: keith hudgens
Email: kqhudgens@gmail.com
Age at time of Dissection: 57
Type of Dissection: Both Ascending and Descending
Date of Aortic Dissection: 29 December 2014
Tell Us Your Story:

Iwas on the computer that night. I took a sip of my drink and then it felt like I was being kicked in the chest. I had severe pain and could not catch my breath. I thought I was having a heart attack because I had had double by-pass surgery two years prior. I woke my wife and had her drive me to the hospital, 15 minutes away. They placed me in the triage. By now I could feel the tearing moving to my abdomen. They did a CT scan and determined I had a type 1 aortic dissection.

The young ER Dr. was on two phones trying to find a location for treatment. UF Shands said they could take me. Dr Thomas Martin and team were standing by. It was too foggy to airlift me, so the Dr gave the EMT a bag of blood and a bag of morphine and said if you can get him there they are ready. 90 minutes later I was on the table. Dr Martin led a prayer and they began. My wife told me about the prayer. I was out 15 minutes into the ambulance ride.

The surgery lasted 13 hrs. They gave me a Florida sleeve, a Dacron graft and inserted a stent. I was in ICU for 3 weeks. My wife made a 2 hr drive every day to be with me. During my recovery I suffered mini-strokes and damage to my C1 C2 spinal cord.

I was the sent to a skilled nursing center to wean me from my Tracheostomy. Then I was sent back to my hometown to Brooks ReHab.
I blacked out several times and had to have a Pace-maker.

It’s now been 10 months, I’m back at work and feeling stronger everyday.
However, I am a lot more weepier. I can’t watch a sad movie or hear a said story. People have commented that God has plans for you. I thought about it and I agree. God wants me to be with my wife and make her happy. He answered her prayers.

Ted Knight-67

Name: Ted Knight
Email: woodvessels@tedknight.net
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.

Jim Tindell-56

Name: Jim Tindell
Email: fmcat@bellsouth.net
Age at time of Dissection: 56
Type of Dissection: Both Ascending and Descending
Date of Aortic Dissection: 25 March 1997
Tell Us Your Story:

Awoke on a Monday morning to an extremely painful ripping in my chest. Went to local ER and spent 5 days there until a TEE was done where the dissecting aorta was discovered. Ascending to bifurcation. Top to bottom.

Cardiologists Recommended to my wife that I be air ambulanced to Houston to see the leading aortic aneurysm surgeon Dr Joseph Coselli. Surgery done next day and they were not able to do lower part of aneurysm at that time.

They decided to watch it and monitor the change in size carefully. That was 18 years ago. I have been fortunate to lead a fairly normal life since then (with an aortic valve and root replacement in subsequent years).

In 2014 I was diagnosed with lung cancer which they found early because I was having the monitoring CT scan for the aneurysm. I have since completed 9 months of chemo and radiation and am cancer free!! Now I will need to get Dr. Coselli’s opinion on the remaining dissected section of my middle and lower aorta as it has grown to a potentially dangerous level.

Not sure he will want to do surgery. But will need to find out. So I’ve been through a lot but still have a positive attitude and hope to have some more good years ahead with my wonderful family.

Abbas R-42

Name: Abbas R
Email: abbas9@gmail.com
Age at time of Dissection: 42
Type of Dissection: Both Ascending and Descending
Date of Aortic Dissection: 14 December 2014
Tell Us Your Story:

I was having a very pleasant flight till the The Worst Pain Known To Mankind hit me. I of course had no idea whatsoever what was really happening to me, and dismissed it seriously bad gas and/or indigestion. I had never suffered gas or indigestion as bad as this before, so the sneaking suspicion that something was very wrong continued to linger in my mind. The first thing I did was stand up, because I felt I needed air, and went to the back of the plane where the serving galley was. There I paced gently and tried to breathe deeply, and actually felt better as a result. We were still about 30 minutes from landing, and now I felt like I needed to lie down. I went to the restroom and improvised a bed, putting the toilet seat down and opening the baby change shelf so I could put my feet on it.

And I just lay there for about 20 minutes or so, and kept breathing slowly and deeply. Years of meditation really came to help at this point. When the pilot announced the plane’s landing, I walked slowly back to my seat, feeling much better thankfully. The plane landed in Dubai and I walked out of the plane and into the terminal eventually where I sat down again before immigration, and had a drink of water. When I went to stand in line at immigration, it hit again, That awful, terrible pain and the sweaty, sinking feeling. This time I knew I needed help. There were only 2 people ahead of me at immigration, and my turn came quickly, and before I knew it I was headed into the baggage claim area. That is where I collapsed, and summoned some airport staff over to me. They were fantastic, because within 2 minutes there were paramedics at my side, and in under 10 minutes I was on a stretcher on the way to an ambulance waiting outside.

I was passing in and out of consciousness on the way to the airport, but I think we reached there in under 10 minutes. Then I passed out till I was medically woken up ( i think) and found a grim-faced panel of doctors standing at my bedside. I was told then I had suffered a ruptured ascending aortic aneurysm, and a dissection all the way from the descending aorta down to the femoral branches. They gave me some statistics on how I had beaten the odds to be alive at this point, and that only surgery can give me another chance at living, no other options. I had to give consent, and I have no time to think about it, they said. Well… pretty cut and dry eh? So I signed off on it, and being given the survival stats etc, felt quite upbeat strangely. I remember saying “Lets do this!”, all gung ho about it.

Twelve hours later, I was wheeled out of the operating theater, still unconscious, on heavy sedation. I had received an aortic graft in the ascending aorta, and endovascular stenting in the thoracic and descending aorta. Over the next few days, I am told there were complications. My heart was not beating properly, my kidneys had shut down completely from shock, and there was a lot of fluid collection in my lungs. The few days were critical, but thankfully I survived. Had to get a few electric shocks (though I don’t know the logic of this straight after open heart surgery! Probably the only way to get it done….), and I was on dialysis for those few days as well. The heart started beating normally, and my kidneys came back online as well. I stayed in the ICU for 3 weeks, during which about a liter of fluid was drained from each lung. The first couple of weeks after surgery, I was also in quiet delirium as a result of post-surgical sedation. I can’t even begin to describe the
hallucinations I was having – they were so fantastically crazy.

After spending a few days in the ward post-ICU, I was discharged and went home for a more relaxed recovery (the ICU is a noisy, disturbing place, despite what ICU stands for…). It took my chest wounds and sternum about 2.5 months to heal. At first I wasn’t even able to sleep comfortably, as I felt I was unable to breathe while lying down. But eventually as the would and bone healed, it got better over the first week. I still felt those pings and twangs of awkward pain while moving around in my chest, but one day after about 2.5 months it suddenly went away. My chest felt absolutely normal. I had to re-learn how to walk, as I could barely get out of bed to even stand up in the hospital. It felt like I was dragging or balancing a ton of bricks on myself. This was probably due to the excessive sedation I needed in the week post-surgery. Upon discharge, I was able to walk, but just barely, and I would get winded after walking about 20-30 ft only.

But I kept trying, and slowly was able to build up my strength and balance over the next few months. I was walking a mile non-stop by about week 8 post-surgery. I then started doing stretches as prescribed by my cardiologist which helped tremendously with the back and shoulder pain and stiffness, which is to be expected.

Its now about 8 months after the surgery. I’ve started light weights and light cardio and walking is upto 5-6 miles without a break. I feel good. And I am thankful. It’s amazing what technological development has done for the medical industry.

Scott Pribyl-53

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Name: Scott Pribyl
Email: sspribyl@new.rr.com
Age at time of Dissection: 53
Type of Dissection: Both Ascending and Descending
Date of Aortic Dissection: 28 January 2008
Tell Us Your Story: Middle of the night dissection. 5% chance of surviving. Lost a lot of blood. Took 25 pints. Section A with prosthetic valve. Tybe B Descending also.

I have photos I’d like to send taken last 2 months. May give inspiration to others. I also want to write a book- looking for a publisher. Any advice? Also want to speak to ‘Heart Related’ Groups, Physicians, etc. When you see photos you’ll see why. 7+ long years of rehab.

Dear Brian, I suffered both Section A Aortic Dissection and Type B Residual Dissection, in the middle of the night, January 28, 2008- age 53. I waited a few hours before going to 2 hospitals. Lost a lot of blood. Took 25 pints to save my life. I had a 5% survival chance. After 7 long years of rehab. I want to write a book, talk to groups, clinics, doctors, etc.

I have attached a few photos- taken in last 4-8 weeks (May/June), age 60. I If you have any advice how I can find a publisher, share my story, etc. I would appreciate it. I have been online a lot.
Literally, and Sincerely, my story and photos are- statistically- 1 in a Million, or more. I can prove that. Hope I can give others inspiration and hope.

Some recent photos attached. Thanks, and I hope you can direct me to resources where I can share my story. The Nurses at the Hospital where Emergency surgery was done named me the “Miracle Man”. One turned out to be my cousin. I can document everything- surgical records, etc.. I need advice where I take my story. Thanks again, Brian!

— Scott S. Pribyl 1342
Shirley St Green Bay, WI 54304 920 499 7337 Cell 920 819 8023
sspribyl@new.rr.com

I was a Champion Competitive PowerLifter and Martial Artist- even up to age 50. I can only lift 50#- same as you I am guessing- but as you know, “There’s life after Emergency Heart Surgery”. Feel free to forward my story and photos to whomever you feel they might help. I have no idea where my situation is going, but the story seems to be unique.

Thanks! Scott

Tammie Purcell-40

Name: Tammie Purcell
Email: tammie121@hotmail.com
Age at time of Dissection: 40
Type of Dissection: Both Ascending and Descending
Date of Aortic Dissection: 27 August 2011
Tell Us Your Story:

I experienced a Type A aortic dissection in the 9th month of my pregnancy in August of 2011. MANY people were involved in an emergency caesarian, life flight and open-heart surgery all within the span of 12 hours.

My story can be read on the following link

The story was published in the local newspaper in Akron, Ohio on Christmas Day, 2011. They also produced a piece on the television news on Mother’s Day weekend the following spring. You could probably still watch that online, too, though I don’t know how to find the link.

I do want to say, the experience I went through was life-changing, humbling, frightening and wonderful all at the same time. I believe my survival was miraculous. The fact that I was able to give birth to a healthy son and can now raise him, with both of us healthy and strong is a testimony to God’s saving grace and to the skills and dedication of dozens of doctors, nurses, surgeons, paramedics and other medical personnel at both Akron City Hospital and the Cleveland Clinic.

Joyce Olaves-59

Name: Joyce Olaves
Email: Joyce2554@embarqmail.com
Age at time of Dissection: 59
Type of Dissection: Ascending
Date of Aortic Dissection: 4 January 2014
Tell Us Your Story:

It was January 4, 2014, and a pretty normal Saturday in Tallahassee for me. I worked around the house and ran a few errands. I didn’t really feel any different than I did any other Saturday. In the afternoon, my husband was gone to work on one of our rental properties that we own and I did laundry, etc. Around 4:30 he got home and we decided to go out to dinner. I had lost a bet with him and I was buying dinner. The restaurant was only about a mile and a half from where we live so we were there before 5:00. During dinner, I mentioned that my stomach hurt a little bit—an unusual type of pain. That pain passed and we finished dinner, paid, and walked to the car. I was not in pain at the time but I felt explainabley different.

Once in the car, I suggested to my husband that we drive the couple of miles to the grocery store to get groceries for the week. We drove less than a half mile down the road when a pain rolled through my chest and all the way down into my legs. This happened twice and my legs felt really weak. I also cannot explain the feeling of doom that I had but I did not express that to my husband. My husband teaches some first aid classes and a class about responding to emergencies so he felt something was unusually wrong and decided then that we would go to the doctor. He quickly turned the car around and took me to a walk-in clinic which happened to be right next to the restaurant where we had eaten. We both got out of the car and walked to the clinic door. Fortunately, the walk-in clinic was closed because they likely would not have been able to diagnose me or would have sent me home.

My husband then said we were going to the new emergency room that is about three miles back in the other direction into the city. Before we got there (approximately 3-4 minute drive as my husband was speeding) the vision in my right eye was blotchy. It was like I was having a migraine aura, but it was only one eye. When we got to the emergency room and walked in I was not in any pain that I remember and really thought they would be sending me home later. This emergency center is much newer and had not been open for long—maybe a year or less.

It is not attached to the hospital either so it had not yet reached the volume seen at the other emergency room at the Tallahassee Memorial Hospital. They tended to me almost immediately. This was around 6 PM and the timing of the rest was kind of a blur. I don’t remember much except I remember talking to the doctor and he told me that my EKG was normal and probably told me more than that but that because of my visual disturbances they may want to do a CT scan. A nurse gave me a couple of baby aspirins, too.

I remember going in for the CT scan and a while later the same doctor (who was their head of emergency medicine for Tallahassee Memorial Hospital) told me that it was a good thing I came into the emergency room and that they had determined the problem and that it was very serious. He told me I had an aortic dissection and tried to explain to me what that was. He said I would need immediate surgery. He continued to tell me the ambulance was pulling into the bay to take me to the hospital and that the surgical team had already been contacted and were on their way to the hospital for my surgery.

Earlier I would not allow my husband (Jorge) to call my two grown children until we knew what was wrong. I figured I would be going home. When we got the news about my problem, I could see the panic in his face. He got on the phone immediately and reached my son, Jamey. Even though Jamey is a police officer and it is rare that he has a Saturday evening off because of either his regular job or his extra duty jobs, he was home and Jorge got him on the phone. Jorge told him what was going on.

Jorge followed the ambulance to the hospital, and by the time the ambulance and Jorge got there, Jamey was there, too. Jamey had called my daughter (Laura) during his drive across town to the hospital. She was out of town in Orlando and I guess I spoke to her on the phone at some point before my surgery but I don’t remember that. I remember meeting the anesthesiologist when I got to the hospital and the last thing I remember was Jamey telling me, “Mom, everything is going to be alright.” I also have a memory of both Jorge and Jamey at my side but I thought I was sitting on a bench with one of them on each side of me. They told me later that I was being prepared for surgery and that the doctors had to kick them out so they could get started with the surgery.

At that time, I didn’t know that Jamey and Jorge had been told that 50% of those who have this problem never make it to surgery and then 50% of those who have surgery don’t survive. This was way more serious than I knew at the time. I guess that, too, was a blessing. Jamey later told me that my surgeon, Dr. Mohamed said I had a 70% chance of surviving the surgery.

Dr. Mohamed said the surgery was 5 hours long and that they were very pleased with that. I had an aneurysm near my heart which had ruptured by the time they opened me up and he had to replace the piece of my aorta from the heart to the arch and repair my aortic valve as well. It was a very long night for my family because I went into surgery around 10:00 PM and with the surgery and the time Dr. Mohamed spent observing me he came out at 5 AM. I had a leaking valve and he wanted to make sure it functioned alright so in addition to the surgery, he spent a good bit of time observing me. I guess Laura had arrived from Orlando around 2:30 AM from Orlando while I was in surgery.

I spent 9 days in the hospital with the first two in ICU. I do not remember much in ICU during those two days other than some bits and pieces. I became fully alert the morning that they were moving me from the ICU to the cardiac care unit. I had all the IVs, the oxygen tubes, and the chest tubes. The chest tubes were what bothered me the most. I was expected to get up and walk several times a day and, while I didn’t mind that, it was such a hassle with all the equipment attached. At one point, the chest tubes were not draining as the doctor had hoped so I was given some steroids which then kept me awake and jittery. I was getting no sleep and that made me very crabby so my cardiologist prescribed Ambien. I had adverse reaction and tried to remove my chest tubes myself during that night. Someone had spent the night with me every night and Jorge was spending the night with me so he stopped me but apparently he had to hold me down while he yelled for the nurse who the
n handcuffed me to the bed. No more Ambien for me.

During one of my CT scans, it was also found that I had a nodule on my thyroid. It was biopsied while I was in the hospital and was benign. A subsequent ultrasound was done on it but my regular doctor said it had grown slightly. I did another test where I swallowed the iodine and they measure the radioactivity and found the nodule was “cold” which means there is still a chance it could be cancer, but all indications are that is not. I have had another follow-up ultrasound but have not yet heard the results. If it has continued to grow, we will decide what to do from there. Thyroid cancer is usually very slow growing and so to wait is not all that serious. The last time I saw the doctor for it, he said all indications were that it was not cancer, but we still aren’t sure.

Other than that, my stay in the hospital was pretty calm. I hated being in bed because I have back problems so I had back pain from having to stay in bed so much. I tried to walk several times a day, but with the chest tubes and the heart monitor I had to haul around, that was no fun and I was pretty weak so it wore me out quickly. You know that you are getting better when you start bugging the doctor to let you go home. They wouldn’t let me go until I had the chest tubes removed for 24 hours so, of course, then the milestone became when I could get the tubes out.

The tubes came out on January 12 and I was released from the hospital on January 13, 2014. I had to take two 100 mg of metoprolol tartarate (AM and PM), 325 Ecotrin aspirin, 25 mg of losartan, and 20 mg of simvastatin daily. My one year anniversary is coming in a few days and I have gotten back most of my strength. Walks are now pleasurable again and not a chore. My medicine has been reduced to two 50 mg of metoprolol tartarate (AM and PM), two low dose (81mg) of aspirin, the losartan increased to 50 mg, and 20 mg of simvastatin daily. My cardiologist tried to reduce my metoprolol to 25 mg twice a day but my bp got out of whack immediately so he bumped it back to two 50 mg pills again and increased my losartan.

I did have one bump in the road. January 28, 2014, I woke with pain in my left leg and then I got some numbness in my foot. Jorge drove me to the emergency room at the hospital this time because I told him I didn’t want to have another ambulance ride and, just in case I had to stay in the hospital, I would already be there. The numbness was later determined by the neurologist not to be related but was likely due to a pinched nerve. However, the doctors found that my pulse in the left leg was not very strong and not the same as my right leg so I was admitted to the hospital for a couple of days for observation. Unfortunately, the hospital had no rooms available so I spent most of the first day in the emergency room area. Eventually that evening I was moved to a transitional room where I stayed for a couple of days before being sent home again. No real cause was determined except that it may have been a small blood clot that the body was trying to absorb. Since the pulse was back to normal a couple of weeks later when I had a follow-up with Dr. Mohamed (my surgeon), it was no longer an issue.

One problem that has gotten better but not resolved is my migraine auras. Before having to go on all these medicines, I only took a probiotic daily and no other medicines and my migraine auras were about one every three months or so. When I got out of the hospital, they were daily and sometimes more than once daily. They decreased after the blood pressure was reduced to about 4 times a week. Now they are sporadic. Sometimes I don’t have one for 10 days or more but then they come back and I might have 2-3 in a week. My cardiologist thinks I need to see a neurologist, but I wanted to see if the migraines decreased after the reduced dosage of metoprolol, even though I read that it is sometimes used to prevent migraines. The good thing is I don’t actually get the headache except on rare occasions but the auras interrupt my work and my life.

I have been told by a number of doctors and nurses how fortunate I was to have survived this and that because I was in good physical shape that certainly helped me to survive it. I am about 5’9 1/2” tall with a BM in the normal range. I eat and live a pretty healthy lifestyle (lots of fruits and vegetables, low fat dairy, whole grains, not much red meat, etc.). Because Dr. Mohamed’s report revealed that the aneurysm had actually burst by the time my chest was cracked, I really dodged a bullet.

Now that nearly a year has passed, I am feeling more normal but I still wouldn’t say that I am 100%. I am not able to be as active as I was before this all happened because I tire more easily.

Cheryl Devine-41

Name: Cheryl Devine
Email: bootz067@yahoo.com
Age at time of Dissection: 41
Type of Dissection: Both Ascending and Descending
Date of Aortic Dissection: 19 November 2009
Tell Us Your Story:

After my daily gym workout, I returned home to prepare for bed & work the next day to feel a burning sensation in my chest, rapidly creeping up my neck. I assumed it was acid reflux which I had never experienced before so I wasn’t sure exactly. I phone a friend.

She decided to call 911 and I was transported by EMT to the local ER. The ER Doctor ran a CT Scan and immediately ordered a life flight helicopter ride to the Cleveland Clinic Foundation to have open surgery for Type A dissection. Survival was 10% and rapidly declining and had just minutes to get started. After 13 hours of surgery I’m here to tell about it.



In my 5th week of recovery i experienced Type B dissection, a 2nd life flight and ICU since surgery was out of the question. Now after 5 years they are still managing the Type B dissection with meds but the dissection is growing larger. They are closely watching it. I have found little support for how to cope, exercise, and live normally without difficulties.

Darrell Adkins-52

Name: Darrell Adkins
Email: djadkins@comcast.net
Age at time of Dissection: 52
Type of Dissection: Both Ascending and Descending
Date of Aortic Dissection: 10 January 2010
Tell Us Your Story:

I was a high school basketball referee, played weekly and underwent regular checkups, stress tests, etc as I was a Security Police Officer. I was in the top 10 in all the health tests. I had no warning whatsoever and no one in my family had anything like this happen to them. One morning I was at home and my wife had put on a pot of vegetable soup.



We sat down and drafted our will which we had put off forever, It had snowed and I had my truck at the top of the hill. It was clearing so I went to get the truck. As I pulled in front of the house I felt this horrendous pain in my chest and back, I laid on the horn and started screaming to my wife heart attack 911, heart attack 911. The ambulance couldn’t get to me so they came in a 4 wheel drive truck. They were trying to figure how to get me to the truck and the pain was so bad I said get out of my way I’ll get to the truck. The driver had to put my head in his lap as I was bent over in pain. They got me to the ambulance and told me to lie on the bed. I said I couldn’t and they said the ambulance would not move until I did.

When I laid down I lost all feeling in my left leg. By the time I got to the hospital I had no feeling in either leg. They rushed me to do a CT scan. Next thing I remember I was in a room and just hoping my son got there before I died. A doctor came into the room and said It is not a heart attack it is an aortic dissection and the worst I have ever seen. I was given my last rights as I had a 2% chance of survival. My family got there as well as my son and I was ok with dying. I told each of them what I wanted them to do and I was sorry they couldn’t go with me. We started praying and then this guy walked into the room and said hello I am Dr George Pleagus and I am going to save this mans life. 9 1/2 hours of surgery later I am being pushed down a corridor and I asked the guy is this heaven he said no its the hospital.

I said are we going to surgery and he said you are going to recovery. I said you mean I lived? he said yes so I said pinch me. I was in the hospital for a week the first time but kept losing weight I couldn’t keep anything down. I had lost the use of one kidney and one of my stints blocks the blood flow to my left arm. After several months and the loss of about 50 lbs, I was 175 when it happened, I changed my kidney doctor because I was told the one I had over medicated (I was on 16 pills) My new doctor checked on me in the hospital, I had been there a week she immediately said I had thrush and began the treatment. (changed my med to 4 pills) I started gaining my weight and eating almost immediately.

I was off work for 6 months, it has been four years now and I play am back playing basketball, my left arm still gets weak if I use it too much but I can play golf, fish (No cranking) etc. I have memory problems since the surgery and was recently diagnosed with Cerebral Amaloid Angopathy (brain bleeds). I don’t think I will be able to work much longer as it affects my work. I am truly blessed to be here. I have not changed my diet (I know I should) I now weigh 175 most of it in front of me. I recently had a beautiful granddaughter named Kyliana who just started crawling. I thank God for allowing me the time I have had here and although I hope to live many more years I am ready when it is my time. Remember only God knows when you will get the opportunity to meet his son so keep your head up and enjoy life.

William Spofford-52

Name: William Spofford
Email: spofford@mail.org
Age at time of Dissection: 52
Type of Dissection: Both Ascending and Descending
Date of Aortic Dissection: 30 December 1995
Tell Us Your Story:

On December 30, 1995 I was working on the ceiling in my basement when I felt something break in my chest. I was on a ladder and was able to climb down and over to the staircase going up. I called up to my daughter to call 911 and was able to climb the stairs up to the main floor.

I was able to get to the sofa to sit down. Don’t remember much after that, but did hear the sirens for the emergency squad. My wife told me later that she followed them to the house. The next thing I remember was waking up the next day in a room with bells going off almost constantly from all of the lines going into me. My wife told me later that the Hospital had contacted Dr. John Armitage when they could not decide what had happened to me and he recognized I had had an aortic dissection.

At the time, he was one of a few surgeons in the country that had been successful in treating this condition. He was able to treat the ascending tear successfully. Since then I have had multiple surgeries, with dates, surgeons and hospitals listed below. I have had all of the aorta repaired except the top arch.

12/31/95 Ascending Type A Aorta Disection repair by Dr. John Armitage at Mary Washington Hospital, Fredericksburg, VA.

1/12/96 Pericardial Drainage & Effusion by Dr. John Armitage at Mary Washington Hospital, Fredericksburg, VA.

3/13/96 Proximal Descending Aorta Repair & Rt. Side Stroke by Dr. John Armitage at Mary Washington Hospital, Fredericksburg, VA.

3/28/96 Tracheotomy at Mary Washington Hospital, Fredericksburg, VA.

10/28/98 Blood Clot Removal Right. Arm by Dr. William Sasser, Mary Washington Hospital, Fredericksburg, VA.

4/18/05 Thoracoabdominal Aortic Repair by Dr. Joseph Coselli, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX.

6/3/09 Blood Clot Removal Left Arm and shoulder bypass by Dr. Reid W. Tribble, Columbia Heart Hospital.

1/7/10 Right iliac artery aneurysm stent by Dr. Joseph Coselli, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX.

3/14/12 Right iliac hernia repair by Dr. Martin C. Mirra, Baptist Hospital outpatient, Columbia, SC

Tom Mohr-51

Name: Tom mohr
Email: thomasmohr001@gmail.com
Age at time of Dissection: 51
Type of Dissection: Both Ascending and Descending
Date of Aortic Dissection: 19 July 2012
Tell Us Your Story:

Thoracic aortic dissection type a.
Replaced aortic valve with a pig valve.
10 hour surgery rebuilt the ascending aorta and strengthen the 3 veins to the brain.Damage to the nerves on my spine due to lack of oxygen during the dissection. Nerve damage all the way down both sides of my legs. Like thousands of needles being stuck on my legs.

Some days it feels like someone is holding me back as I walk, usually on my left side.
I take 13 medications. For blood pressure and I take gabapentin to dull the pain on my legs and I take one tramadol 50mg. Every 6 hours to keep the pain in Check.
I was very blessed by God to make it..I received my last rights. Because it turned into one large an your ism.
I have short term memory loss and I cannot make it , only about a half day at work. Before my body starts to shut down.its been 18 months

I’m know 53, and struggling with the idea of Applying for disability. I can walk 3 to 5 miles a day. But I can’t sit for more than a half hour before my legs really start to hurt. Also after speaking for 15 minuts straight. I’m done for the day.tired dizzy no energy.

I was a successful executive and know here’s the new me.
But I can’t get anyone to answer, does the government approve thoracic aortic dissection survivors, with pig valves and neurological nerve damage ???? Before I spend weeks filling out paperwork

Steve Baker-53

Name: Steve Baker
Email: pneuman40@yahoo.com
Age at time of Dissection: 53
Type of Dissection: Both Ascending and Descending
Date of Aortic Dissection: 23 April 2013
Tell Us Your Story:

I am a sales manager for a large automation firm so I travel throughout my territory to support the guys that work for me.I was in Jacksonville, FL to work with one of my team and had checked into my hotel for the night. After settling in to what seemed would be another routine evening, I suddenly felt a numbing, tingling sensation down my back into my right leg. I also had some tightness in my neck and knew that something was wrong.

I waited for a few minutes to see if the symptoms would subside but they did not. Having a sense of impending doom, I packed up my suitcase and headed down to the hotel lobby to call 911. The ambulance arrived shortly after and I described my symptoms to the EMS crew. I had also contacted my wife and explained the situation to her not knowing exactly what was going on. I was thinking stroke or heart attack but had no pain to speak of.

Once arriving at the hospital ER, X-rays were taken and an evaluation was made that I should go to their sister hospital for a CT scan and have their cardiac unit available if needed.After being transported to the sister facility and receiving the CT scan, it was determined that I had an ascending aortic dissection and would require emergency surgery. My wife showed up just prior to me being sent to the OR and I told her that I loved her and was sorry for making her drive up to Jacksonville. The surgery went well and I was kept in a drug induced coma for a couple of days while on the ventilator. Total time in the hospital was 10 day from surgery to release.

Then the fun started. Working my way back to a normal existence. I must mention that I am a avid cyclist and participate in both road & mountain bike events. That part of my life has been greatly impacted and has been difficult for me to come to grips with. I picked a cardiologist in my area and started the process of long term treatment for my condition. I eventually got back to working and riding but at a reduced level due to the heart medication.

After nine months, my doctor scheduled a CT scan to check up on the repair and make sure all was going well with my healing.
When to results came back, I was floored by the findings. The medical staff had determined that my dissection had continued all the way down to my illiac arteries and the false lumen was actively supplying blood flow to my left renal artery and kidney and that the false lumen was the same size as the true lumen!

I was stunned and not sure what to think. I was just coming to grips with my new reality then, WHAM! I get hit with this news. I was both scared and angry that this was happening to me again after thinking I was through with dealing with the initial dissection.

I met with a thoracic surgeon to get a prognosis and find out where I go from here. Since the situation is “chronic” at this point, no surgery will be done unless it becomes an emergency situation. He has asked that I scale back my cycling activities and do no mountain biking until after my next scan in six months. I’m still trying to come to terms with this new revelation and not sure how to mentally accept it and deal with the impact that it has had on my life.

I’m still grieving for my old life and working on setting new goals based on my “new reality”. I will continue to ride and participate in some charity events but not as vigorously a I used to. Hopefully in the next six months I’ll get the green light to return to mountain biking. My take on the whole thing is this: I can die on the couch or I can die on the bike. I think I’ll choose the latter.

Alicia Rasmussen-30

Name: Alicia Rasmussen
Email: alicia.e.rasmussen@gmail.com
Age at time of Dissection: 30
Type of Dissection: Both Ascending and Descending
Date of Aortic Dissection: 14 December 2013
Tell Us Your Story: My story begins somewhat like a cheesy horror movie.

It was Friday the 13, 2013 and I was enjoying my works Christmas party. With my candy cane stripped stocking and Elf shoes on, I had just finished dinner when it felt like someone had stabbed me in the chest. I went over to where my husband was and sat beside him, he asked what was wrong and when I told him my chest hurt he suggested it was nothing more than heart burn. As I had just finished a rich Christmas meal including a glass of red wine I agreed. So I sat there, took a Zantac and was sipping on a glass of water waiting for the pain to pass. After about 30 minutes with no change in pain I realized I needed to go to the hospital.


Once at the hospital I was lucky enough to have received medical attention right away. They found that I had an Aortic Dissection, all three stages, and I was rushed to a different hospital where I had emergency open heart surgery on the early hours of the morning of December 14, just 13 days before my 31st birthday.

I was released from the hospital just 6 days after surgery, which was fine by me as I felt home would be better. I got to spend the holidays, and my birthday, at home with my family, very lucky me.

The recovery has been strange to say the least. Most of my body is willing and more than able but my sternum is defiantly not. Now I am just playing the waiting game till I see my Surgeon and Cardiologist.

Oh this thing we call life.

Wendy Cukier-63

Name: Wendy Cukier
Email: wcukier@ryerson.ca
Age at time of Dissection: 63
Type of Dissection: Both Ascending and Descending
Date of Aortic Dissection: 11 August 2011
Tell Us Your Story:

This concerns a friend. He has been treated for high blood pressure for 13 years but without much attention to his deteriorating condition.

The date of his original dissection is unclear but physicians believe that it happened more than 2 years ago when he went to emergency and was sent home from the hospital with “the flu” where he spent several weeks in bed. On another occasion his debilitating back pain was treated as muscular.

When his GP finally referred him to a cardiologist, a few weeks ago, he was initially told that they could find nothing wrong with him except that he needed to lose 100 pounds. None of us believed this was accurate given the extent of his symptoms, wheezing and inability to move around and his former state of health – this is a man who used to ride 150 kilometers, from Toronto to Niagara Falls on his bicycle just because. Only after the ultra sound was redone was the problem observed and when he finally was sent for an MRI, the team was so horrified at the extent of the damage and the size of the aorta he was rushed to the cardiac unit of a local Toronto hospital.

He is finally receiving excellent care but unfortunately his surgeons have concluded that the damage is too extensive and they cannot operate. A nurse told him that in her opinion he would be lucky to survive 1-2 years without surgery. Repeatedly he has been told that, given the extent of the damage and the size of the aorta, they are astonished he has survived this long and he is lucky to be alive. I think this is an odd definition of “lucky” given that the delay in diagnosis has resulted in what is effectively a death sentence.

We would welcome alternative opinions on his case and information on innovative of experimental treatments that may not be locally. His caregivers are very cooperative and happy to provide all the relevant documentation. We would also be interested in hearing from anyone who has experienced or treated a similar case. Its pretty heartbreaking but, I gather, not unusual for the condition to be misdiagnosed. In the UK the National Health Service appears to have undertaken a very aggressive approach to improving the early detection of this dreadful condition.

Brad Padgett-50

Name: Brad Padgett
Email: bradnpadgett@gmail.com
Age at time of Dissection: 50
Type of Dissection: Both Ascending and Descending
Date of Aortic Dissection: 3 August 2012
Tell Us Your Story:

My name is Brad Padgett I am from Corpus Christi Texas. Prior to my aortic dissection on August 3, 2012 I had been diagnosed with a thinning area in the wall of my aorta. Over a two year period I was put on blood pressure medication and went in for CT scans every six months. On August 3 2012, I felt a rip in my chest, stood up and felt very faint. I went to the ER and after a CT scan was informed that I would need immediate surgery to repair my dissected aorta. I was stabilized and was prepped for surgery, while a graft and valve were being located. The procedure was 8 hours and a graft was placed on my aortic root and my valve was replaced.

The following morning I flat lined in ICU due to a blood clot and the attending nurse and ER doctor made a life saving call, they cracked my chest open and Robert Galbreath saved my life by massaging my heart. all of this was done in ICU in the bed. Once the surgeon arrived I was taken to the operating room to remove the clots. I spent the next 30 days in Bay Area Hospital in Corpus Christi Texas.

Over the 30 days my life changed spiritually. I truly believe that faith had everything to do with my second chance at life. After I was released from the hospital I made the decision to change my life style, I stopped drinking, started eating better and exercising more. I was sent home with an oxygen tank and was very weak it took several months for me to get back on my feet. Two months later around the beginning of 2013 I was told by my surgeon in Corpus Christi that I would need more surgery.

In February 2013 I went for a second opinion in Houston Texas. Dr. Joesph Coselli confirmed that I would need a stint and a full dacron sleeve over the arch and ascending area. On March 22 2013 I had the prep surgery for the big procedure, April 10 2013 I had the stint and sleeve surgery.

I spent a week at St. Lukes and was released. In the last 17 months I have had my chest opened three times, spent 40 plus days in a hospital bed, and still have a flap in the abdominal area that could need repair if it does not heal itself. I still have aches and pains, my chest is sore ie.. stiff. I exercise each day, started playing racquetball last month, go to work each day and have a positive attitude about life. I hurt and I am concerned about what might happen down the line, but I am alive and I realize know that GOD has been with me my whole life, I just never knew it until the dissection.

That’s my story…. I have never met or spoken with anyone that has had a aortic dissection. I am very positive and strong, but I am scared at the same time. It is something that is with me 24/7. Best regards Brad Padgett Corpus Christi Texas

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