Anne Cotton is a retired Primary School Teacher from Warwick who had her entire Aorta replaced in three stages, after suffering an acute Type A Aortic Dissection in 2015, aged 52
Aortic dissection survivor Anne Cotton’s life was changed when she was enjoying a bank holiday weekend at a retreat in Devon. By the Saturday lunchtime she started to feel very unwell with a severe headache and back pain and, as a migraine sufferer, she took herself to bed to try and sleep in the hope she would soon feel better. However, feeling much worse with tingling in her arms, she instinctively knew something serious was wrong and she asked for an ambulance to be called.
On her own and feeling frightened, Anne was taken to hospital where a heart attack was ruled out; however, she told a nurse she thought she was dying, which triggered an escalation of her care and a CT scan was carried out.
Following this Anne has no memory of anything. After a 2-hour emergency dash to the nearest hospital which could deal with her Type A Aortic Dissection, she was taken straight into surgery and her family was called.
She woke up in critical care 3 weeks later feeling shocked and confused. Gradually gaining strength, Anne was able to go home after 5 weeks.
Recovery has taken a long time and sadly Anne hasn’t been able to return to her teaching career.
Anne says ‘I would have hoped my life would have continued steadily from this point but unfortunately, I have had 2 further surgeries, in which my whole aorta has been replaced in stages. I am now extremely grateful to be alive, thanks to the instinct of the original ED doctor, who gave me a CT scan, and to the incredible care I have received ever since. Life has changed; it is different, and I am having to learn to live my life in a new way. However, along the journey, I have met an amazing community of folk who have had personal experience of AD in their families, through the Aortic Dissection Awareness group, which has been a real support to me.’