Aortic dissection & aortic aneurysm information support group

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

It is now 12 months since my arch replacement, so time to meet with my consultant at Southampton General yesterday for a check up. Having had my MRI scan taken 5 weeks ago I was somewhat nervous as to what it would show, not only of the arch graft itself but also that rest of my aorta was OK. I was so relieved to be told and shown on the scans that everything was really fine! The Dacron graft was looking very good and had now been covered in my own tissue; he suspected that a new, smooth, tissue lining had also been grown internal to the graft too. The MRI scan clearly showed that aorta from the graft, descending, was all well with no signs of any aneurysms and with all dimensions just as they should be.

This really was the first chance we to talk about my operation, and what he was able to confirm was that he was 100% sure that he was able to remove all of the damaged, dissected aorta during the operation. The Dacron graft he was confident was attached to good, strong aorta walls and that there were no signs of further tissue problems in the aorta. He explained that the location of my tear was in an unusual location in the lower wall of the arch section and they would have expected it to dissect not only in the ascending direction but also in the descending direction too from that location. The fact it did not extend into the descending aorta and the dissection grew quite slowly in the ascending direction (16 days from event to surgery) it seems my aortic tissue is relatively robust.  It is his opinion that there was some small, local weakness at the tear point in the arch that was exposed by my hypertension, but although he cannot totally rule some sort of connective tissue problem he does not think this is my root cause.  We discussed the issues that follow on from the operation and it was reassuring to be told that I experienced no more and no less than what he would expect after this type of major surgery.

In terms now of follow up, so long as I keep my blood pressure under control, visit my GP on a regular basis, don’t take up weight lifting and take plenty of exercise he is happy to go 5 years to my next review! Yep, this had been a good day.



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Comment by Gregory Smith on September 13, 2011 at 17:05
Had my check up today, also at Southampton!
Comment by Cheryl Kerber on September 11, 2011 at 3:31

I'm just heading off to bed and I have to say thank you for such an uplifting prognosis to fall asleep to ---- congratulations on the results of your visit.  I have to have a scan in the next month to make sure everything from my surgery is in place and I know how unnerving it is until you get the actual results --- yours gives me hope that it really can happen and be true.  Enjoy your happiness - you deserve it.


Comment by Harry on September 8, 2011 at 15:13

Hi Gary,


had a my Dacron implant 4 weeks ago. I will still have the aneurysm as its extended up & down, but its conforting to know the Dacron implant is working well!

Take care


Comment by Sharon Masterman on September 8, 2011 at 12:44

God bless you and keep you xx


Comment by Graeme on September 8, 2011 at 10:12



a very good day indeed. :-)  I was particularly interested in the info re the growth of tissue on and inside the dacron graft.. i was told that years ago this would be the case with the graft and the fact it was inert and enabled this growth - so it sort of became a framework for the body to build a new section of aorta on, but my local doctor and even my heart specialist at Medway said that this was not the case - thought i was going nuts - so your post is in many ways is vindication to my belief as to how the graft worked inside the body and something that i am going to STRONGLY suggest my specialist studies up on!

It's even more pertinent to me as i have a dacron replacement from the aortic root up to to the descending aorta and also a mechanical heart valve as the aortic valve was trashed. Its now over 8 years (!!) since that fateful day and i must say I am going strong with my annual tests being passed with flying colours - long may it continue!


take care and thanks for the great heads up!





Comment by Julia Holley on September 7, 2011 at 15:11
Hi Gary, Well done and what a good day.  I have my year plus 2month scan end of this month and hope I get good news too.  My aorta did dissect right down to the bifurcation and at the last scan was still dissected.  I am always hopeful. I am so happy for you.  Best wishes  Julia


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