Aortic dissection & aortic aneurysm information support group

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

Approximately three weeks ago today I was having dinner with my wife when I felt this horrible feeling of indigestion. It quickly subsided and I then felt flush and feverish. We went home and I had a temperature of 101. I went to bed and checked my temp in the morning. My fever subsided, but I still had a shortness of breath and slight chest pain. I continue my life as normal thinking I had a slight case of the flu or a chest cold. I took some Mucinex and Ibuprofen, but the symtoms didn't subside. On Thursday, October 8th I finally went to an urgent care clinic. They used three different blood pressure sleeves because my readings were coming back at numbers like 90 over 40 and 100 over 25. They took a chest x-ray and found that my heart was enlarged. The doctor then found a heart murmur and sent me to the emergency room. Luckily for me the nearest hospital was St Luke's in Milwaukee, WI, widely regarded as the top cardiac hospital in the Midwest section of the United States. I got to the ER and underwent a series of tests. When they performed the Echocardiogram, they found the ascending aortic dissection. They could see the blood coming out of the aorta and entering the pericardium, which explained the enlarged heart on the x-ray. The first two layers of my aorta about three inches above the valve were completely dissolved, and the final layer was ready to go. The following morning I went in for the procedure. I now have an artificial valve/aorta. So now I'm in recovery mode. Getting used to the clicking of the artificial valve has been a challenge. I'm starting cardiac rehab on Monday. I will continue to update my progress.

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Comment by Richard Deal on January 8, 2010 at 9:22
truly wise words!
great to hear your progress and startling when you consider the speed... you must be well on your way to getting a bionic man certificate by the sounds of it!
i guess the valve needs a little more time for your brain and body to get used to. i don't think it will ever get quieter, or feel right - but your brain will do what it can to move it from the foreground to the background. each click/tick/whoosh is still alien to me at t+18 months, and some days i find it reassuring to hear it in my head and others it just reminds me of a bad episode i was lucky to get out of alive. both are fairly positive, so the hate part of the initial love-hate relationship has got considerably smaller.
take care, and above all, have fun!
Comment by Peter Benedict on January 8, 2010 at 3:26
Three months later and so far, so good. I've been back to work as a multi-unit restaurant manager full time for over a month, and I'm nearly 100% in terms of stamina and strength. Staying up on the INR's to ensure that my warfarin dosages are correct has been a pain, but certainly a small price to pay. I'm also on a pill to keep my heart rate down and a cholesterol med as well. At 43, I feel way too young to be on so many prescriptions, but it beats the alternative. The most amazing part of this entire experience has been my complete shift in priorities. Julie and I made a point to get together with as many friends and family as we could over the holidays. Usually that's a pretty quiet time of year for us, but not this time! I have received many, many pieces of advice from medical personnel about my recovery, but there's one piece that I think is more important than the rest, and it's the simplest. Listen to your body. If you're tired, sit down. If you're dizzy, rest. If you have pain anywhere that shouldn't be there, have it checked out. I am blessed with a wife that supports me 100 percent, and she will tell me to take it easy before my body does. I am still not used to the clicking of my valve, by the way.
Comment by Richard Deal on January 7, 2010 at 23:38
hey peter,
three months today! i hope you are feeling much better... any update?
all the best,
Comment by Graeme on October 24, 2009 at 10:30
Hi Peter (and Julie!) and welcome to the Aortic Dissection forum - and welcome back to the world !!!! Yes - I can TOTALLY understand your frustration, shock, disbelief, anger and all the other emotios that swirl through you with this. Remember one thing though - you SURVIVED!! So many simply don't. So - go and give Julie a big hug (but tell her to be careful as your chest still hurts like hell!) and don't laugh out loud just yet - and for goodness sake - don't sneeze! ;-)

And go buy a pillow or wheat bag for your new 'tick tock' machine that is inside you - once you get used to (never!) it is a constant reminder of how good it is to be alive - and Julie - make him sleep on his side!

Best wishes Peter for a speedy recovery



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