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Stevie from South Lanarkshire

Kirsty Paterson talks about what happened to her Dad Stevie after he suffered a sudden Type A Aortic Dissection at age 57. 

Stevie from South Lanarkshire

‘Tuesday 16th January 2024 started out as any normal day. I finished work early ready to begin celebrating my birthday the following day with my Dad. 

We had planned a lovely, chilled afternoon watching films together but, this suddenly turned to panic when Dad went to the bathroom and collapsed. 

I ran in to find him on the floor; clammy, sweaty and finding it difficult to breath and complaining of abdominal pain. I immediately called 999 and, within 15 minutes a first responder arrived followed by an ambulance five minutes later. They worked on him for 30 minutes before leaving for our local hospital, not giving any indication as to how serious things were, which at this point I’m so glad.  

An hour and a half later a nurse called and asked if I could make my way to hospital as Dad's condition was serious and he was becoming very confused.  As his next of kin, I needed to consent to an emergency operation. 

On arriving at Wishaw General Hospital, I was taken to see him now that he was conscious, but he remained confused. I was then taken into a room, where his condition was explained. He had been given a CT scan which had shown a Type A aortic dissection which required urgent surgery. Of course, I agreed and, within 10 minutes he was being transferred into another ambulance and taken to the Golden Jubilee Hospital in Glasgow.  

All I could do was hope and pray my Dad was going to pull through. 

I received a call at 10.20pm letting me know he had arrived safely and would be in theatre within the next 20 minutes. 

I spent the whole night pacing the floor, praying he would pull through. It was all the more heart-breaking as I only found my Dad 16 years ago. Suddenly the thought of losing him at only 57 became a reality. 

At 6.45am on Wednesday 17th January (my 41st Birthday), I received a call to say he was through the 8-hour operation and recovering in ICU. 

The next week was very up and down, he developed a chest infection, became resistant to sedation and, at one point was temporarily paralysed to prevent him pulling the incubator out. He spent a week in ICU before being taken off the machines and moved into HDU. 

I have never been so glad to see him awake and talking.  

However, during his stay in HDU his heart rate spiked following his distress at being confused and the medication wasn’t helping to bring it down. I was informed after three days of no change that he would require another visit to theatre to have his heart stopped and rebooted, a bit like a computer. Thankfully, this worked and two days later he moved to a ward, where he spent a further six days before being discharged. 

All in all, since coming home on the 5th February everything has moved in the right direction and, at a recent appointment with his surgeon he said his outlook is very positive indeed. 

It is thought that the cause of his AD was high blood pressure which hadn’t been controlled. 

Fortunately, his prognosis is good and, with medication, everything is being kept under control.  

Yes - life has changed and, it is still early days, but he is doing well.  He does still get tired and breathless for periods but, he is doing cardio rehab sessions and re-building his strength. 

He turned 58 on the 26th of January while in hospital. I will be forever grateful to still have my dad here with me and to all the medical teams who saved his life.'