Aortic dissection & aortic aneurysm information support group

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

A close encounter.



My story began back in May 2008…was I 60 or 61, oh well, it was there about’s.

I had just closed down the pc after a bit of surfing, it was around midnight my wife and step daughter were already in bed.

I started feeling a discomfort in my chest…to start with I thought it was a touch of indigestion. The discomfort grew more intense to the point where it felt like something was being ripped from my rib cage, the pain was excruciating. I stumbled into the bedroom and woke my wife who immediately called the ambulance.

It was shear luck that we have a paramedic living close by who had just gone off shift; he had picked up the call on his radio and was at the door within 30 or 40 seconds.

He began treating for what he believed to be a heart attack; approximately 5 minutes later the ambulance arrived and I was taken to the local Hospital.

While on route to the Hospital the pain in my chest subsided and I began to feel more comfortable…believe it or not I began to wonder what all the fuss was about, I even found the energy to have a laugh.

The doctors began making their tests; it was three days later before the doctors realized that something more than a heart attack was trying to pull me to the other side.

They decided to give me a CT scan, that’s when they discovered the tear in my aorta, by then blood was already leaking into my chest cavity.

I was immediately rushed to the London chest Hospital in east London where they began the fight to stabilise my condition.    

It was four days later that I awoke in intensive care with no memory of those four days. By all accounts I had been on the operating table for ten hours with a 20% chance of surviving.

After being moved to another ward the surgeons came round to explain what they had to do…it was pretty scary stuff! All of which is probably familiar to the group.

It was while they were explaining the OP that they told me about the tumour on my left kidney…which had apparently showed up after a scan they took, they also explained that my aorta had dissected down to my groin (which explains the pain I was getting there). My recovery was somewhat inhibited by my emphysema but after about six weeks I was aloud home. No one as yet has mentioned whether my dissection can be repaired…this leaves me wondering if I’m walking about with a ticking bomb.






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Comment by Richard Deal on June 16, 2011 at 22:39

hey there terry,

this sounds exactly like my story, only without the wait between presentation and correct diagnosis. provided you take your medication religiously there is no need to feel like a ticking time-bomb - in essence though, you are! the doctors will monitor your condition regularly and will pay particular attention to your abdominal aorta to make sure it is not aneurysing. as soon as it starts you will need to have it repaired - there is no guarantee that it will though, so make hay while the sun shines ;)

when i went for my first ct scan after my dissection had been repaired it was almost like a truck had hit me. i was blissfully ignorant that only the life-threatening part of the dissection had been repaired and when they started talking about the abdominal dissection they had to pick me up off the floor. now just over 2 years later and i can't say that i really think that much about it. i go for my yearly scans and am told everything is fine and that is pretty much it.

so, what more can i say? apart from the obvious motivational rubbish, now is the perfect time for you to get to know what your body is trying to tell you. nothing is too trivial to bother a doctor about, and make sure you are satisfied that they know their stuff, and they are being frank and upfront with you too. the last thing we need is psychological torment on top of all of our physical limitations...

take care,


Comment by Kimberlee Jones on June 16, 2011 at 16:16

The ticking timebomb feeling. I think we have all used that expression many times. I know I understand the feeling fully. Like you my AD felt like a mild case of indigestion, unlike you mine never progressed from there. It took a bit of pregnant mom intiution and a lot of luck that mine was even discovered.  -- here's my story. When will you find out about if you are able to get surgery for repair? Please keep us informed and let us know what the doctors say. Meanwhile try to relax and appreciate the beauty of the world around you, just stress yourself out(not good for dissection) the doctors have made amazing strides in repairing dissections so chances are they will be able to do something great for you.  





also find something that helps you relax and cope. For me it was poetry(OR at least attempted



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