Category: Unknown Ascending/Descending

Patricia Peterson

Personal Stories: Patricia Peterson

Hi Brian:  I’ve been trying to drop you an e-mail for quite sometime and finally got up the nerve to do it.  I had my aortic dissection on  Dec. 2lst and 22nd.  They started on the 21st and after about 10 hrs, it was done.  My vascular surgeon told me he flat lined me twice, and I made it back and we got through it.  I don’t remember too much except after the worst of it and the start.  I had a very excruciating pain shoot through my jaw and down to my chest and around to my back, and I don’t think I will ever  forget it.

I was down in Mesa, AZ and I was a patient of Advanced Cardiac Specialists and had been under Dr. Z. Yilma’s care for a few years.  I have a sent and in 3 months it plugged and I had to have angioplasty to clean it out.  I am still so tired that some days I don’t know what to think.  I know they told me it would take about a year to recover.  I am still hoping I will get stronger and feel like kicking up my heels.  I have grafts from the surgery, three of them, and they are called prosthetic (gore tag).  I think I have this right, I was in Boise, Idaho last week and they told me they do not do this surgery there yet.

I live in La Grande, Oregon and had been here, I would not have made it.  You need to be diagnosed almost immediately and so that was good, but I understand they have not  been doing this type of surgery for very long and don’t know how long it will last.  I would kind of like to know what the prognosis is for this kind of surgery.  Can you let me know how yours happened and how it was and is?   I live in La Grande, Oregon and go to Apache Junction, AZ for the winter.  I am 72 yrs. old now, and female.  Please send me back an E-Mail as soon as you can conveniently do so.  Where do you live and where did you have your surgery? I had open heart surgery, my ribs sawed into and the whole bit and had a lot of work on the left side up high it starts in my neck and goes down where the ribs separate at the stomach area.  Then I have a 4-6 inch scar in my groin where they did something.

I know a nerve got cut there as my left thigh on my leg is numb on the outside, the inside seems okay, but everything that bugs me is  on my left side. The carotid on my left side got narrowed and is at 50% now.  I am extremely fortunate to be alive and walking and talking and I thank my Lord.  He evidently wasn’t through working on me!  I can’t think of much more right now, but I know I will, so I am anxiously waiting for your response.

Thank you for reading this,

Pat Peterson.

David Graham

Personal Stories: David Graham

Hi Brian,

My name is David Graham and i was hospitalized with an aortic dissection back on 1/21/04.

I am finally home now and i am really struggling with getting back my strength and stamina. I had both an ascending and descending tear.

Lucky to be alive. Some complications of the surgery were amputation of all my toes on my left foot and 50% use of my fingers in my right hand.

I’ve been struggling to “get back to normal”.

Always very tired and a little depressed. Any advice you could give me would be much appreciated.

Contact David

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John Goldsmith

Personal Stories: Jim Goldsmith

Hello Again Brian:

I had terrible, terrible, pain in my back running up and down the whole core of my body. I thought I was passing a kidney stone or having a heart attack! Dr. Coan was on duty that day at the hospital. (I guess many regular Doctors alternate pulling emergency room duty at this big hospital in Atlanta.) Dr. Coan is a top Vascular surgeon and he quickly recognized from what I described and from his experience what was happening to me.

I remember he said: “You’re not passing a kidney stone and I don’t think you are having a heart attack”, probably from the blood tests they did, etc.’ but then he said “You’re blood pressure is off the chart it’s so high” and he ordered a CT scan right away. I was all drugged up and the next day he came by my room and told me I had had an Aortic Dissection. Dr. Coan is still my Vascular doctor and he said they could either operate or treat me with blood pressure medicine and monitor the dissection to see if it changes.

I have a MRI/CT scan twice a year and the dissection has not changed over the past four years. He says that if it starts growing in size he will probably want me to get the operation. I see another doctor twice a year for my blood pressure medicine.   I take Labetalol and Lisinopril for blood pressure, Pot Chloride, Furosemide (water pill), a low dose Lipitor, and an aspirin and day.   Dr. Coan told me that Aortic dissections are often mis diagnosed and I feel I’m very lucky that he was on duty that day!   My younger brother got a check up after my dissection and discovered he had the same condition! He died a year ago while at work! Thanks again for you great web site!   Best regards,   John Goldsmith

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!)

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