Personal Stories: Deb Bonnema


Dear Brian,

Thank you for calling me back.

My name is Deb Bonnema and on Nov. 30, 2004 my husband took me to the ER because he thought I had Pneumonia. They ran a CT scan which came out positive for that, but they also found that I have an ascending aortic dissection.

Because of how bad the bronchitis and pneumonia was they wanted to wait until Jan 4, 2005 to do my surgery. Four days before surgery I started having severe chest pain. My husband Dan took me back to the ER. This time they not only did a CT scan they put a scope down my throat.

They said the dissection was clotted off and was getting smaller. My surgeon said he had never seen this in all his 12 years. Now I'm on a waiting plan. I'm taking Toprol and Cardizem.

I can't say this is a walk in the park the meds don't always agree with me (they make me lightheaded). I have already had 14 surgeries in my life and I'm only 41. I don't want to go through another if I don't have to.

Is there any one out there with ascending aortic dissection that didn't have to have surgery? Do I need a second opinion?

Response from Doctor David Liang of Stanford:

If the flow in the false lumen is very slow it can clot off. You've managed to survive a month already with the dissection, so you have already selected yourself out into a very select and lucky group of patients. If the false lumen truly has clotted then the ultimate outcome may be quite good and may not require surgery. It should be watched closely though and controlling the blood pressure is very important.


Thank you, Deb

Contact Deb
Phone: 206-550-7957
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