Aortic dissection & aortic aneurysm information support group

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

Hello all! I'm new here. I like to be physically active and I have what I think is a stressful job. I am 58, have a wonderful, caring wife and 3 magnificent daughters, ages 16, 14 and 11.

In April, after a episode of angina, an aortic aneurysm was discovered - 4.5cm, ascending, not involving the aortic root and no blockage.  I was prescribed a beta blocker (25mg Metoprolol). A follow up MRI is scheduled for November.

I have always been relatively fit and slim. My doctors have given me no physical restrictions, other than power lifting. Makes sense.

I was extremely cautious at first, walking on egg shells. Also, the Metoprolol made me tired. However, I have since gotten back to my pre-AA self - e.g., hiking, rowing, gardening and household chores - some chores heavier than others. And, the stressful job continues. So far, I have had no angina and no symptoms.

I realize now, I may be over doing it with this time bomb in my chest. The reality of my situation has finally dawned on me after 5 months. I'm beginning to freak out and think a dissection could occur anywhere, at any time - imagining the worst!

Should I be moderating my activity and reducing stress? To complicate matters, I'm very close to landing a new job position. No less stressful.

Please respond in any way you like on living with an AA. I'm also open to face time with Skype, if anyone is available and willing. I have also read many of your wonderful posts. You (we) are a dynamic group!

Thank you!


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I have never heard about the 5kg (11lb) restriction. That's not much. And, what "horrible surprises" Richard? Don't know if I want to hear this...


for me - crazy at it might sound - one of the horrible surprises was the effect that bathroom cleaning products now has on me. i cannot clean the bathroom now without having to sit down quietly for a good 2 hours afterwards cradling dizziness, a headache and a weird type of lockjaw. no one can tell me why it happens, what causes it (although obviously it is the combination of chemicals and mild exertion, i have not been able to isolate a specific chemical), or how i can avoid it. it doesn't happen when cleaning the kitchen, either, although the products are mostly identical. needless to say, the bathroom is the last room i clean now and i "enjoy" 2 hours of imposed "relaxation" afterwards.

a lot of the horrible surprises are psychological though - overcoming the "black dog", as graeme puts it, is far and away the hardest path on the road to recovery.

we shouldn't distract from the pleasant surprises though. there will be things that make you stop and wonder at just how far you've come.


Thank you for your honest response Richard. I have seen that black dog. I have yet to give it a name.

Hi Richard,

Welcome to our group, I had a dissection completely out of the blue 2 years ago and it took 3 months for the enormity of it to hit home, after which I was scared to do much at all.  I have been lucky in that I have a wonderful Health Living Co-ordinator who takes gym sessions twice a week so a group of us (mainly with heart problems/overweight) meet up and do exercise tailored to us.  It has given me great confidence and I am much happier with knowing what I can and can't do.  I often ask my cardiologist about activities and whether I can do them and his usual answer if that there is not enough evidence one way or the other - Kimberlee is right - listen to you body and be sensible. Life is for living and we are all lucky to be here and try to make the most of what we can do, that may mean a nice walk with the family rather than sky diving!

Good luck with your new job, make sure you stand back when things get stressful and take a few breaths.


Hi Nicola, 

Thank you for your thoughtful response! I have my 6-month check up (my first follow up) next month. Trying not to think about too much and keep the stress level down. Walking seems to be a good, moderate exercise I can do every day. 


Hi Richard

I have found since my dissection that I don't get as stressed as before, I have a different perspective on the world now, although I do get stressed as we all do, I find exercise helps to calm me down.

Good luck with your check up next month, I find them a bit nerve racking but it's great to get a clean bill of health for another 6 months!




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