Life Expectancy

Question:

I just joined your site. My husband survived a type A aortic dissection that ruptured on May 25th this year. It took the local emergency room a long time to diagnose this condition I’d never heard of. Although heart disease runs in his family, we don’t know of anyone with this condition. He had emergency surgery and received a Dacron graft and his aortic valve was re-suspended. He is doing well, but the dissection continues down his trunk and partially into one leg. He’s only 55, in pretty good health, he’s on blood pressure medication and will have a CAT scan every 6 months. My question is how long a life expectancy does he have? His cardiologist seems so vague on this point. Thanks.

Answer:
I would probably be vague as well. There’s no reason why a person who has a survived a dissection shouldn’t be able to have a normal life expectancy. There is higher risk of death from the residual dissection and possibility of additional repair surgeries than if you hadn’t had a dissection, but there is no set limit on how long someone can live after surviving a dissection.

I guess the analogy – would be that it probably matters little to any of us whether the normal life expectancy is 65 , 75 or 85 years. We all just do our best to enjoy each day and take care of ourselves as best we can so we can have as many days ass possible. The same applies after a dissection. You could live 5 years, 10 years, 20 years or 30 years. No reason to dwell on which it will be, because no one can predict which it will be. Just have get up each morning and make the most out of each day.

This isn’t really an answer, but quoting statistics would do you more of disservice than help you. They are unlikely to represent any individuals case. Life expectancy is for actuaries and life insurance salesman.

David