Aortic dissection & aortic aneurysm information support group

Aortic dissection, aortic aneurysm - The aorta - Life after an aortic dissection

A new member has asked for our urgent help. Jess Woodward-Hays has her 80 year old dad in hospital with a type B dissection. Here is her request below. Any members that want to contact her can either contact her via the site or send her an email direct.

Cheers, Graeme

My dad is in critical condition in hospital having had abdominal dissection on saturday 2nd jan 2010, to date had four units of blood transfusions and kidney failure. Hospitals have refused to operate due to certainty of death on table. He had severe vomiting and bought up large quantity of blood, hence transfusions. We, as the family, were put on standby for the first 48 hours, but uncertainty as to his prognosis of survival remains uncertain. Is there anyone out there who can help us with some answers or support?

We are a family who feel totally in the dark about what is going on - I have read a lot about younger people suffering this and recovering from surgery. I would like to hear from anyone who can help me put all this into perspective, from survivors of unoperated dissections, any family member who has been through similar story and the like. At the moment we feel alone and are caught in the will he/will he not survive, mode and what happens in the event of his recovery - anything you could offer would be gratefully received.

Thank you.


Tags: 80, aortic, b, bloood, dissection, inoperable, old, type, vomiting, years

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There has been a lot of work done in minimimally invasive operations to correct descending aortic dissection. Here's a good link to Gore Medical who have perfected such medical operations and make the prothesis.

GORE TAG® Thoracic Endoprosthesis
The revolutionary GORE TAG® Thoracic Endoprosthesis means physicians now have a minimally invasive option for safely and effectively managing patients with aneurysms of the descending thoracic aorta.


hey jess,
what an awful start to 2010.
i'll start by saying i am not a doctor and i only suffer from the aftermath of a type a+b dissection. whilst i sometimes sound coherent, please don't take what i say to be medically correct...
from what i understand of my condition an abdominal dissection, even in the acute stage, is only ever medically treated by blood pressure pills. it is only critical if the dissected aorta is at aneurysm stage with a diameter > 7 or 8cm as then it is likely to burst leading to catastrophic blood loss. it sounds like your dad is dissected and at aneurysm but is only "leaking" so i think graeme's endoprosthesis suggestion is probably the right way to go (i am not a doctor, but from a common sense perspective). the hospital is right, i am sure, to not want to open your dad up - it involves hypothermic circulatory arrest, his body and organs going into deep shock and a long, long road to recovery... i had a type a+b in 2008 and i still have my type b. i hope that i do not start to show signs of aneurysm because the sternotomy was bad enough for the ascending dissection. to have a great big incision down my side and a surgeon stop my heart again, clamp my aorta off again and cut out the descending aorta to replace it with a set of tubes even mike oldfield couldn't play is too much for me to think about.
unfortunately doctors play numbers, so provided the hospital are not talking about palliative care your dad probably has a better chance of pulling through without any operations than if he had the graft resection...
knowing about my condition, my concern would be his kidneys and whether the failure is just temporary because of "irregularities" in blood supply because of the dissection location. i think if they are out of action for more than a week or so without dialysis then the outlook really is grim...
i'll keep my fingers and my common iliac arteries crossed for you!
PS: if you get a chance the bbc did a documentary series called "fight for life" and i think episode 2 concerned an abdominal aortic aneurysm repair - it is worth a look to understand what is happening inside the body.
following up on this if you read the IRAD papers on dissections, the mortality rate for an abdominal aortic aneurysm is 3 times higher if operated on than if treated with medication.
I hope all is going better with your Dad now and his kidneys are back on top of things...
take care,
Richard, spot on. I read that yesterday too at IRAD but did not get time to get it to Jess.


Hi Jess.
I hope your fathers doing well and getting stronger daily.
Everybody that suffers a dissection is put on the 48hrs critical list.
There's so many variations of percentages of survial I've lost count and to be honest don't pay very much attention to the statistics.
What I would stress is that because of your fathers age the doctors will take that into consideration in regards to surgery.
But the majority of descending dissections are not treated surgicaly and are monitored and medicated to keep blood pressure low.
I know of hundreds of people that have suffered a type B descending dissection and I'm in contact with at least 6 ppl personally and all are doing very well after yrs of stability controlled by medication.
I myself am into my sixth year.
I too suffered acute renal failure and was on dialysis for three weeks untill a stent was put in situ in my renal artery to regain blood flow.
It was successful.
I'm sure your fathers doctors wil looking into his kidney failure.
It's very common for the dissection to travel through to renal arteries.
The procedure to put a stent in is quite simple and not so intrusive that an 80 yr old could not cope with physically.
But that's only my opinion and I'm not a doctor Jess.
Talk to your fathers consultants ask them what they intend doing for his renal failure.
It's very daunting Jess but if your father is a strong willed man and has the love of his daughter And family by his side there's a fantastic chance that he'l pull through and in time get back to some kind of physical fittness that he had pre dissection.
Please keep in touch and let us know how your dads doing.
Warm regards to you your father and your family.



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