Category: Fifties

Irenes Husband-58

Personal Stories: Irene’s Husband

Dear Brian,

First off, let me say how grateful I am for this web site. Although sometimes I’m not thrilled with what I read, my husband and I have found it very informative. Back in February my husband, who is 58, was taken to our local hospital with what we thought was a heart attack. From there he was taken by ambulance to Mass. General in Boston.

He had previously (Nov. 2003) had a cauterization when it was determined that he had three 50% blockages. The Drs. felt that the blockages were not enough to operate to put a stent in. Now in February, they did another cauterization and determined there was no change from November. He spent five days in the hospital with numerous changes of medication and was discharged on a Friday. He had a miserable weekend, was up half the night in terrible pain.

To make a long story short, our PCP had him take an x-ray the following Saturday. They called us and asked for him to come in for another. We weren’t able to get back for the second x-ray until Sunday morning at which time the Dr. had him have a CAT scan. Everything happen so quickly after that. He was shipped to Brigham & Women’s in Boston with a Type B Aortic Dissection – from his breast bone down to his groin. He spent 4 days in ICU. Since then he has made three different trips back to B&W. They are treating him with various meds to control his blood pressure.

He did go back to work (he’s a teacher) but after feeling really lousy, the school nurse had him transported by ambulance to a hospital near his school. Since then he has been followed by the Drs. at B&W, including a vascular surgeon and also our PCP. He tires very easily and just doesn’t feel himself.

We have so many questions but are afraid of the answers. We have an only daughter. Is this hereditary? Did having the second cauterization cause this? What is the long-term prognosis? Can you really lead a normal life after this? My husband had planned to retire from teaching this June anyway but now is very down to think his retirement plans have changed. I try to be upbeat for him and tell him how lucky he is to be alive but some days, this really gets to him.

We had never heard of this condition before it happened to us. Now, there are so many stories on your web site and we have even seen an ad on TV for screening of this condition.


Contact Irene

Choi – Hong Kong-54

Personal Stories: Choi

I am a 54 years old man from Hong Kong. On 7 February 2004, I had sudden severe chest and back pain while at home in the afternoon. My wife immediately dialed ‘999’ and I was admitted to the nearby hospital by ambulance soon after. After CT scan, the doctor told me that I was suffering from Type B Aortic Dissection and I was transferred early next morning to Queen Mary Hospital (which was the major center in Hong Kong for peripheral vascular disease). After consultation, the doctor told me that there was a new treatment (implanting an endovascular graft onto the dissected aorta) for Type B dissection other than traditional medication.

I had the operation on 16 March 2004 after proper control of my blood pressure. The operation was smooth and it was less invasive and pain than expected (only two small incisions over both groins). Up to now I found my recovery is okay and I have started light exercise two weeks ago. Regular follow-up inspections are required to ensure stability of the graft. First inspection around first 30 days post-operative, at six months and then yearly. I had the follow-up CT scan and x-ray on 23 April and so far conditions are o.k. I shall return office next Monday. Hope my experience above is useful to you. Best wishes Choi

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!)

My Husband-57

Personal Stories: My Dear Husband

My husband had his aortic dissection 2 years ago. We were sitting down to dinner when he got a pain in his back that radiated to his chest. We are married 37 years and he had a look on his face that I had never seen before and never want to see again. I dialed 911 and the paramedics came and took him to Kennedy Hospital in South Jersey.

The doctor there did a chest xray and a cat-scan. He then told us that the hospital was not equipped to handle his problem and that we should pick a university hospital in the city. Since his primary doctor was at Thomas Jefferson hospital in the city of Philadelphia, that is where we decided to go.

They wanted to use a helicopter to transport him but the weather would not allow this. We got to the hospital by ambulance, where they proceeded to do a test. After the test my husband lost blood flow in both legs and was taken into emergency surgery. He has a tube running from his shoulder to his groin to correct his blood flow. After this surgery, and being in the hospital for 3 weeks, they still could not control his blood pressure.

After considering many options, they decided to move his kidney from his back to his stomach. We thank God that this worked and he spent another week in the hospital. My husband never had high blood pressure and was in good physical condition before the dissection. He went for a physical once a year and is in construction work.

He is now on three different types of blood pressure medicine and returned to work 3 months after the dissection. He has some trouble with his legs aching and the side effects from the blood pressure medicine but He continues to live life to the fullest. His most recent cat-scan was good and he just had a echo cardiogram last week.

He still sees a cardiologist, a vascular surgeon, and a transplant surgeon. They keep a close watch and I take his blood pressure on a regular basis. I wanted to share this story so that people will know that there is life after a aortic dissection. I would like to thank you for starting a web site like this one so that people have some where to go to read other stories of hope.


Kathy Eckert

Contact Kate

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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