Aortic dissection & aortic aneurysm information support group

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

Staring Death in the face, 3 dissections in 20 years

20 Years ago give or take a couple years I went into the hospital for chest pains. A CT scan showed a dissection in the left carotid artery. I was told I had a 70% chance of death without surgery and a 50% chance during surgery.

In essence a coin toss.

The cause of the dissection was and still is a mystery. I was around 30 years old at the time and had none of the contributing factors for dissections.

Fast forward to March of this year.

While playing an online game I began to have pains in my left shoulder blade area that moved to the upper left arm. It lasted for aprox 15 min. I thought it was possibly muscle strain. When the pain moved to the chest and left jaw I knew it wasn't muscle. The pain in the chest was multiple pains but 1 of them I knew all too well. It was a very distinctive pain that I had felt 20 years earlier.

Once in the hospital they performed a CT scan. You hear about color draining from peoples faces and they appear white as a ghost? Well I got to see it when the doctor came into the room and blurted out. We need to get you to St Louis NOW. Were sending you by helicopter. I had an Aortic dissection.

Spent 5 days at Barnes-Jewish hospital and was sent home with medications to control BP pulse and cholesterol.

Exactly 1 month later while playing that same online game I began having major pains in chest, neck, gut, and right leg. Drove myself to the hospital. After a CT scan the doctor came into the room and said the same refrain, we need to get you to St Louis NOW. A 2nd dissection in the Aorta.

This time I was told on day 1 that I would have to have surgery. They gave me 2 options, A clinical trial using a stent-graft or open surgery. I opted for the trial since it wouldn't require opening the chest.

Tomorrow I go in for preop testing and will have the surgery on July 5th if all goes well. In the procedure they will go in thru the left femoral artery and both carotid arteries. The stent-graft is made of a nickel, titanium alloy and I'm assuming Dacron with branches for the carotid arteries.

Wish me luck :)

A late update.

The surgery went ok with a minor complication afterwards, a minor stroke. Will be seeing a stroke doctor on the 20th.

Midway thru the month while at home and no pain medicine I killed myself. After they did cpr and brought me back they flew me back to Barnes to check the stent-graft. no damage from the compressions and the dissection was healed. but no word on the 1st dissection in the lower section that was causing the pain that drove me to suicide.

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Comment by Gregory Smith on June 28, 2019 at 19:56
Interesting. If you'd been here in the UK things might have been different.


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