Patient Comments: Aortic Dissection - Symptoms

What were the symptoms of your aortic dissection?

Comment from: Stan, 65-74 Male (Patient) Published: August 19

On Jan. 2, 2013, around 5:30 p.m., I was removing some graffiti from a hydro power box in my front yard. I was using various solvents, paint thinners, etc., and steel wool to remove the paint. After finishing and while washing up over a sink, I felt a slight tug in the left side of my chest and immediately after I started to feel some rather strange sensations around my cheekbone area in my face. Sitting down at my iPad to pull up some information on what was happening, I could barely make out the keyboard as my eyes were watery and blurry. Going upstairs to lie down for a bit, I got up after a few minutes and had to get down on all fours as I became very dizzy. All this time I'm thinking this was a reaction to the fumes caused by mixing various solvents. Eventually I called 911 and when the ambulance came, one of the questions they asked me was "what year is this?" Now bear in mind this all happened on Jan. 2, 2013, just a couple of days after New Year's. My answer was, "I think it's 2011," so short-term memory was affected also. I felt absolutely no pain during this entire ordeal leading up to the surgery. At the hospital, the eventual diagnosis was a tear in the aorta's inner layer which prompted immediate open heart surgery where the surgeon grafted in a 7 cm long Dacron tube. Now, I feel as if it never happened. I feel great. Mind you, I had to take two months off work and I came back a bit too early. What surprises me is I have exercised by jogging and lifting weights for over 40 years when this happened, albeit I do have high blood pressure for which I've been under medication for about 10 years. I don't smoke and drink only very occasionally. Thanks a million to those in the medical profession who, through their education, intelligence, professionalism, and perseverance saved my life and the lives of many others. During the operation, a cell saver was used to filter, clean, and recirculate my own blood so I didn't require any transfusions. I thank God every day for giving me this day to spend time with those whom I love and with those who love me. I look forward to a long, healthy, and happy life. I just need to keep my weight under control as well as blood pressure.

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