Aortic dissection & aortic aneurysm information support group

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

Hi All!


I had a type b dissection in May2011 - surgery was not advised and have been on medication to keep my blood pressure nice and low - it has all been working well and I've been getting on with 'life'!

In December I had my 1st CT scan since it 'all happened' and have today been told I will be taken into Southampton General for surgery to replace/repair my aorta next week!  talk about shock!! The worst thing is that I feel just fine!


I have seen my Mum go through 3 aortic operations (about 15 years ago) - so I sort of know what I've got coming - but was just wondering if you lot could give me and tips etc.


By the way I'm 41 years old



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First thing to say is that you are great hands in Southampton, I had my arch replaced, after a type A, with a dracon graft in September 2010 by Mr Kaarne at Southampton, superb team. Who is doing your surgery?

We all know it comes as a shock when you are told that you need to be operated on, but be strong and have positive thoughts. Yes the recovery can be tough and painful, you will know this with your mother, but you will get better.

We are all here to help and support you when you need us.

The rolled towel they give you after the op to cuddle really does work

All the best


Hi Gary - I'm Going in Monday - Surgery being done Wednesday (by Mr Kaarne!!) 


Any tips you can offer?



Hi Lara

Our thoughts are with you. What part of the aorta are they replacing - abdominal or thoracic?





Firstly, I am sure all will go well and that you will be in good hands with Mr Kaarne. The ICU and HDU teams are great, giving one to one care after your op. They will get you and moving real quick. You will have problems sleeping post op, I think we all suffered that, that gets better. There will be pain, but it eases. You will be desperate for drink after you come round, but they just swap your lips with a small damp sponge. My tip is to tell someone now, who will be with you when you come round, to keep dipping the sponge for you so you can suck the water out! Thirst is my first memory when I came too.

Good luck and will we all want to hear how it all went


Well, am devestated, but, op was aborted at the last minute!!! (got as far as the anaesthetic room) - they now take some fluid off the spine before the op (to let the spine move around a bit during op) (anyone else had this done?) - and the colour of the spinal fluid was pink - which the surgeon believed put me at very high risk of paralysis - so a MRI scan of my back was done - ready for me to go back again on the 21/3  (op 22/3) - so the mental torture starts again......



Keeping you in my thoughts through it all.



Well thoracic surgery was carried out on the 22nd March in Southampton, Went down at 10am and out at midnight - had a tough time - in ICU for 6 weeks - I had a colapsed lung, a small bleed on the brain, I'm also told I had 3 seizures (so now I can't drive for 1 year) and my very realistic 'dreams' were something else - apparently I was very agressive and nasty in ICU (not like me at all - I'm normally a very calm person) was in hospital for 8 weeks and am still recovering at home with my family running around for me. My aorta is now covered in Gortex, I'm alive, and I'm 'me' - all this has given me a new look on life - live each day like its your last!!!!

Hey Lara


welcome to the club! Sorry to hear about all the trauma, keep positive and eventually you will come out the othr side. As you said - my motto is exactly that.. live each day as it comes... it works for me!




 Hi Lara,


I understand what you going through. I had a thoracic repair in 2006 & a Dacron implant fitted last year. Totally understand about the spinal fluid, I had two abortive attempts due to spinal fluid problems, each time waking up in ICU. I understand this is a newish procedure to stop fluid building up in the brain during the operation.

My suggestions are to remain focused and be positive. It’s a big operation, but it sounds like you have a great surgical team. From memory the first two weeks are probably the hardest, take any painkillers offered & don’t be afraid to ask for more if needed.

I would like to be positive about the recovery, but it,s along road, & as you have seem you mother go through it you know what to expect.


Good luck!


Hi I had my op carried out as an emergency in Southampton three years ago. Its obviously a big op and took a while to get over it but am now fairly well.  I did not find recovery too painful but was glad to get home and get a good nights sleep! I get tired easily and suffer from shortness of breath etc if I over do the exercise and had to take early retirement from work but its a smallprice to pay.  Been on holiday to south america with my son (a gap year veteran), been away on several cruises etc. So keep positive and enjoy life as much as you can.



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