Patient Comments: Aortic Dissection - Symptoms

What were the symptoms of your aortic dissection?

Comment from: Tim27407, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: January 14

Late September 2013 I had just finished my lunch after outdoor chores. Rising from my couch with a muffled burp, I felt something "give" in my chest with an unusual vibration feeling from the burp. It was unmistakable, something had happened. Not much pain, just immediate and persistent heartburn radiating upward from the left-center area of my chest. I took two aspirin and drove to the local fire department, still unsure if my condition warranted an ambulance call. My blood pressure was high, 200 over 95 or so. They took me to the emergency room, 8 hours later I was diagnosed with ascending aortic dissection by CT scan. I am 235 lb 5'8" ex-smoker (quit in '95) with history of hypertension, controlled with beta blockers. Ten hours of emergency surgery, followed by pulmonary embolism 3 days later, tamponade caused pulseless EKG, more surgery, played golf with all my dead relatives, woke up another 3 days later with a whole new outlook on life. I am making good progress, walking or riding exercise bike most days, doing well with home rehab and light office work.

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Comment from: Rejoice247, 65-74 Female (Patient) Published: January 14

I had strange pressure in my neck a week previous to the dissection. Then I felt like a toothache might be starting. The day of dissection I had no symptoms. I was having lunch at a restaurant just waiting for the food when I keeled over! I had a type A ascending dissection at the top end. The surgeon gave me a 50/50 chance! Seven hour surgery went well.

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Comment from: diggingupward, 25-34 Male (Patient) Published: January 06

I had no symptoms prior to being rushed to the hospital due to an aortic dissection. I was/am a healthy 29 year old who exercised daily, ate properly with occasional treats and had no other medical ailments. I had a normal day at work, came home played with my kids and then proceeded to mow the lawn, a task which I had performed hundreds of times previously. Since I had blood loss to my brain for an unknown amount of time I don't recall everything that transpired while mowing the lawn but roughly 30 minutes into mowing the lawn I came inside my house and passed out in the bathroom. I was unresponsive and was rushed to the emergency room where I was stabilized but required emergency surgery. My aortic arch had swelled to 9+ cm and a tear developed. Another interesting medical issue I have is that I have tissue running the length of my aorta down to my femoral artery that splits my aorta in half.

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Comment from: mbrown0567, 45-54 Male (Patient) Published: November 21

On November 8, 2013, I woke up with a sharp pain in the middle of my chest at 5:20AM. I thought at first that maybe it might be carbon monoxide poisoning. I walked outside to take a few deep breaths and couldn't. Around 6:45AM, I took my shower and got ready for work. I walk to and from work, which is a 30 minute walk one way. Yes, I am a smoker and do drink every day. Well, walking to work, the pain was still there and a neighbor offered to ride me down the hill. He noticed my reaction and told me to take an aspirin. I stopped by a store and got an aspirin and by the time I got to work, (8:00am), my co-workers were concerned and one of them took me to the emergency room. Thank goodness he did as I was zoomed off to surgery without consent. I ended up with a tear in my artery and had a double by-pass surgery. I didn't wake up until Sunday, November 10, 2013 after The Bengals lost their football game. I am now at home recovering and happy to say I am a non-smoker and am trying to get my niche on my eating habits. I go to the doctor's on November 25 for my 2 week check-up. I will admit that this is all scary for me to take in.

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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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Aortic Dissection - Experience Question: Please describe your experience with aortic dissection.
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