Personal Stories: My Dear Husband

My husband had his aortic dissection 2 years ago. We were sitting down to dinner when he got a pain in his back that radiated to his chest. We are married 37 years and he had a look on his face that I had never seen before and never want to see again. I dialed 911 and the paramedics came and took him to Kennedy Hospital in South Jersey.

The doctor there did a chest xray and a cat-scan. He then told us that the hospital was not equipped to handle his problem and that we should pick a university hospital in the city. Since his primary doctor was at Thomas Jefferson hospital in the city of Philadelphia, that is where we decided to go.

They wanted to use a helicopter to transport him but the weather would not allow this. We got to the hospital by ambulance, where they proceeded to do a test. After the test my husband lost blood flow in both legs and was taken into emergency surgery. He has a tube running from his shoulder to his groin to correct his blood flow. After this surgery, and being in the hospital for 3 weeks, they still could not control his blood pressure.

After considering many options, they decided to move his kidney from his back to his stomach. We thank God that this worked and he spent another week in the hospital. My husband never had high blood pressure and was in good physical condition before the dissection. He went for a physical once a year and is in construction work.

He is now on three different types of blood pressure medicine and returned to work 3 months after the dissection. He has some trouble with his legs aching and the side effects from the blood pressure medicine but He continues to live life to the fullest. His most recent cat-scan was good and he just had a echo cardiogram last week.

He still sees a cardiologist, a vascular surgeon, and a transplant surgeon. They keep a close watch and I take his blood pressure on a regular basis. I wanted to share this story so that people will know that there is life after a aortic dissection. I would like to thank you for starting a web site like this one so that people have some where to go to read other stories of hope.


Kathy Eckert

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