Aortic dissection & aortic aneurysm information support group

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

Hi all,

I really wish I found this site before, especially when I was going through my ordeal. A couple of things about me: My name is John and I'm in the second half of my 40's (the gray hairs speak for themselves!) I'm an American in the U.K. and, from what I see, have a lot in common with a lot of you all. I've had three aneurysms and two of them dissected. It was a rough road, but I'm happy my ordeal is now over.

The first, the ascending in 2005, was done by an English surgeon who just did not know what he was doing. I was in the hospital for about 2 months with almost every complication imaginable. It was to the point where I almost lost my legs. The sad thing is that I found out, if done by the right surgeon, the procedure is fairly easy. 

Two years later, I had not only developed another aneurysm but another dissection! This time I was one of the lucky few to be seen by a visiting professor and his team (of 7 or 8) from the U.S. who were here in London operating on another patient. They treated me with kindness and dignity, like an actual human being and told me they had to operate. At first I was nervous and was scared that they would rush it like the last guy did but then they told me they would have to wait for the dissection to cool off and put me on blood pressure medication. He also said I had another aneurysm developing but that it did not require immediate repair and we could watch it. Anyways, we kept in touch over the next couple of months and about 5 months later after my last scan, we decided it was time for surgery.

Again, because of my first experience, I was scared especially because this procedure was supposed to be a lot more complicated however I was advised that I really could not wait any longer and I had to make my decision. So I did it. 

They came to London to operate so I could be near my loved ones and accept my insurance. While that was helpful, I remember being so nervous the night before... it's all a blur now but I did the surgery and to my surprise the next day I was sitting in bed extubated! (is that what it's called? When they take the breathing machine out?), two days later I was out of the ITU and on a regular floor, and home within a week. The Houston team also stayed with me during the entire hospital visit just in case something happened which I thought was unheard of. I could not believe it. Even though I knew I would eventually need the third surgery my mind was at ease. Prof. Safi is fantastic and the doctor who works with him kept in touch with me on a weekly basis (I still talk to her from time to time), Prof Cheshire in London followed up after surgery. 

Anyways, about a year later, in 2008, Prof. Safi replaced the thoraco abdominal aneurysm which again I was scared to do because I've heard the stories but, again, was out of the hospital in two weeks and two months later I started swimming lightly. I did not have any of the complications that I had before or the ones that they had warned me about and I attribute it all to his team. 

To this day, I am still in touch with the team and any question I have is answered within 24 hours. If you need any advise, I think you should ring this team. They give you free advice and when I asked for other surgeon referrals, they gladly gave me a list and advised me on doctors that I had heard of. I ended up going with them and do not regret. It was not until after the surgery that I found out just how accomplished Prof. Safi is (Apparently, he studied under Debakey!) Anyways, I just watned to share my experience with you and I am very grateful to them because I can now watch my kids grow up. :-) If anyone has any questions about them, let me know... but I'm sure it's all on google


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It's amazing what these surgeons can do these days.  My first surgery went well with a few complications and no memories of anything for I am not sure how long(my first memory I was already in my room).  I've been told that the valve should have been replaced when I dissected, but I"m not complaining, the surgeon saved my life and did the best he could given the circumstances(had a c-section before surgery) This second surgery went even better, no complications, I woke up without breathing assistance and went to my own room same day and home on day number 5.  I'm glad to hear your second experience was a much much better one than your first and it is great that your team is available for question, this has got to be a great relief to a busy busy



Exactly. It's truly amazing how quickly the body adapts and bounces back. But it's nice to know this is all behind us now. :-)



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