Personal Stories: Harold Garwood's Family
I've been browsing for info about subject and thought I'd see if you
had ever heard of the kind of incidence in my family.
In Feb 1984, my mother was stricken very suddenly while attending
her mother's funeral. Grannie was 100 years old. Mom was 59.
There was no autopsy done, but a few years ago, I wrote to the
hospital where she died and the symptoms noted on the one page
medical report were much the same as others who have died.
In Nov 1988, my 36 year-old sister, 7 months pregnant, had flu-like
symptoms. She went to doctor who detected low bp. He sent her to
hospital for observation. She walked in around 5:00 pm and was dead
by 7:30. Baby was also lost. Autopsy reported ruptured aortic
In Aug 1990, my 43 year-old sister started feeling bad around
lunchtime at her job at Vanderbilt Univ library. She died before
ems arrived. Autopsy reported ruptured aortic aneurysm.
In Feb 2001, my 47 year old sister, a medical transcriptionist,
began having pain in her chest and back. She logged off from her
at-home workstation and emailed her supervisor that she thought she
had an aortic aneurysm. She called ems and was taken to a rural
area hospital in Shelbyville, TN. They had asked for a helicopter
from Vanderbilt Hospital which arrived while she was in the MRI
The immediately put her on the chopper and flew her to the
hospital. She endured 8 hours of surgery to implant dacron graft
and remove a golf ball sized tumor from her heart. She is nearly
fully recovered and enjoys her horses on her small farm in
Shelbyville. Dr. recently told her she has some kidney damage, but
nothing very serious.
In Jan 2005, my 29 year-old daughter delivered our first grandchild,
a beautiful little girl, by C-section. She was released after 4
days recovery and spent one day at home. On that evening, she had a
pain in her back and chest while eating supper, but said it passed.
A couple of hours later, her husband took her back to the hospital
where she had delivered. He reminded them of the family history,
and an MRI was done. They diagnosed a Stanford type B aortic
dissection. Blood had began to enter the medial tissue. They said
this type of leakage could be treated by controlling her bp and that
if it didn't heal itself, they would consider surgery in a couple of
She was kept in icu and was being monitored when she
coded. CPR was performed and she was revived, but she coded again
in ambulance to heart hospital next door to maternity hospital.
They tried heroic measures but failed.
We lost hope very early when dr said he had done cpr for 45 minutes.
We have one other daughter, age 25, and there are 4 other young
nieces and 2 nephews. My 2 brothers and I are 60, 46 and 43, and
have undergone numerous screenings, all with good results. Seems to
be a girl thing. One sister, age 56, has not been affected.
If you have anything to share on this, please reply.
This is certainly quite a sad
story. I presume the family has been evaluated for the known
causes of familial aortic dissection - Marfan syndrome, Ehlers-Danlos
Syndrome Type IV... If not the this should be done at once. I
would also consider seeking evaluation at a center with strong
experience with familial aortic dissection. Dr. Diana MIlewicz at
University of Texas at Houston would be my recommendation.