Aortic dissection & aortic aneurysm information support group

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

Wednesday 10th Feb 2010 will be a date I will always remember. I went to work as usual( I'm a sales person in a small electrical shop), was showing a chap a washing machine, the. I stood up after showing the drum of a washing machine. And had this weird pain in my chest, it was a bit like heartburn, I then got this pain in my jaw and in my teeth and could feel my heart beating oddly. Well I have had both the previous symptoms before due to Atrial Fibrillation or Arrythmia as it can be called. I have had tablets for Arrythmia for almost 20years now, thinking that this was another episode of this I thought it would pass. 45 minutes passed and it was worse, weird feelings in my chest, not painful but very odd. I got my boss to call ambulance. I was admitted to local hospital in the Coronary Unit. They knew I was quite ill by my blood pressure and thready pulse. they gave me an x-ray. After 3 or more they took me for a CAT scan. Which showed my Aorta was ruptured, I was bleeding into my chest. I needed an operation,  I was given 2 options. Option 1 I have the Op, which came with complication of infection. Sometimes they have to replace valve either with metal or organic or I could die. Option 2 was that I die. Because we don't have the expertise here on the Isle Of Wight and one the best places for any heart ops in UK is Southampton. I was strapped to a small stretcher with an oxygen mask on my face, I joked as I was taken out that it was like Hannibal Lector. I was flown by air ambulance to Southampton 10pmish. I was operated on for 4 hrs and woke up Thursday. I had whats known as a Aortic Dissection. They had replaced at least 2inches of my Aorta. The first thing they want you to do is cough, something that seems unnatural when your chest feels as though it exploded. You are then introduced to your new friend, it consists or a rolled up towel thats taped to hold it together. You use it every time you move so your chest stays together. This bit of kit has been tried to be made better in USA, where they spent thousands of dollars, but still it's the best. I spent 3 days in the high dependency unit the 5 in the coronary care. I am now at home but will only play after a couple of months because of my chest, blood pressure and stuff.

I have since had a Coronary Ablation (Purposely scarring heart to correct electrical pathways) to correct my heart rhythm.

It may seem strange to some although I have been a member since 2010. But find it hard to talk it all the way through it still.

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Hi John, I had my AD in June 2010 and also was taken to Southampton General. Mr Tsang was my surgeon. My aorta was repaired with a Dacron sleeve and a new aortic valve was fashioned out of my own flesh. I was in intensive care for 4 days, none of which I can remember.


Hi Greg hope you're well. Very good treatment at Southampton. Went back there for the Ablation. Staff are really good.

Hi John,  well done on sharing your story - I know how hard it can be to talk about my AD so sympathize. So glad you were diagnosed and 'fixed'.  My parents lived on the Isle of Wight for several years - it's a lovely place to be. An air ambulance too - that must have seemed surreal. Glad to share your story, take care, Nicola


the more you share the more the load lessens...Love the story on the towel...I remember that friend well...I now have a medium size wheatpack in the shape of a dog that I still hug to my chest of a night to help muffle the noise of the mechanical heart valve...12 years on! stay wel!!



Hi John

It's interesting that your initial pain was in your jaw. Mine also started in my lower jaw and I thought it was heartburn starting. It then went rapidly down to my chest and became huge gripping pain. Maybe the initial sensation in the jaw is referred pain.

I too had ablation to cure arrhythmia, though I only waited a few months from the initial onset (which followed my second major operation to fix a thoracic aortic aneurysm which developed from my residual descending aneurysm). My heart had spontaneously popped back into normal rhythm but the advice was that without the ablation the problem would recur.




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