Personal Stories: Harold Garwood's Family
Brian,
 
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 aneurysm. 
 
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 machine.

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 months. 

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.
 
Thanks,
Harold Garwood
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.
 
David

 



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