Derek’s aneurysm As we could find so little information...

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Derek’s aneurysm

As we could find so little information on the web about the aftercare for this major operation, we thought it might help other people if we shared the knowledge we have gained over the last few months. It is not written by medical people.

Derek had an abdominal aortic aneurysm operation in September 2006. He had had no real symptoms except dizziness, problems with his vision, lethargy, lack of interest in life in general and most importantly, for the rest of his family, he had lost his sense of humour. Looking back we really should have recognised this as significant as once he had had the operation, it came back. When Derek was taken ill on the Friday, the hospital doctors thought he might have had a stroke or maybe was having a heart attack. It was through an ultra sound scan that they found the aneurysm.

One of the things which really disturbed him was that he was told that he had only a 3% chance of surviving if the aneurysm burst. I think besides the shock of realising just how ill he was, this is the remark which has been wandering around in his head since the operation.

The aneurysm was 10cm wide, with no calcification and starting to leak. It was agreed that he would be operated on immediately. The operation took about a couple of hours, the stent was inserted in to the main aorta to the heart.

Derek was taken in to intensive care where he remained for the next four days. The things which he found most disturbing were the distinct feeling that there were little black spiders all over the room, spinning webs wildly, and that there were other people in the room whom he would address as if they were actually there (he was in a room on his own!). The morphine, I guess.

After a few days he was transferred to the cardiac ward and he was encouraged to get up and move around and use the toilet on his own. One of the symptoms which had been troubling him for some time before the operation, was his inability to see properly and this continued.

He was encouraged to walk in the hospital grounds and even made it to the canteen to have a snack.

After about 10 days the dozens of stitches were removed.

The following day Derek was allowed to leave the hospital. As we had been in Germany for our son’s wedding reception when Derek was taken ill, we actually went back to the hotel in which the reception had been held. This made it extremely difficult for Derek to fully relax and I am pretty sure delayed his progress. Normally after such a major operation I imagine that you have a fair amount of relaxing bed rest and as we had to arrange repatriation, I think that added some further stress. His medication was changed from what he had been taking in England and he each day he injected himself with heparin. This he also did before the flight back to the UK. These injections continued for about a week after we returned home.

He returned to the German hospital just before we flew back to the UK for a further ultrascan to ensure that everything was healing well – which it was.

Once we finally got home about two weeks later, he then started his bed rest and continued to be very tired, sleeping for most of the day, with gentle walks in the garden when he was up to it. Four weeks later he was still sleeping until 4.00 pm – I believe this was caused as much by the traumatic arrangements for getting home from Germany as to the operation itself. A further month and he was just resting in the mornings.

About a week after we got home the severe panic attacks started and the GP rang to reassure him. He also hated being left alone in the house whilst I went shopping. All normal apparently.

I also feel that he would have liked some further reassurance that the wound was healing internally – it is a large scar from his breast bone down to his groin.

About six weeks after our return to the UK, he went to see the cardiologist at the local hospital and they pronounced him fit, after checking the arteries in the back of his knees which, initially, caused them some concern.

They did not perform an ultrasound scan, which I feel, really would have given him more confidence that everything was healing well.

He has been told that it will be 6/12 months before he feels totally well and is now suffering a significant loss of confidence and a mild depression. He is finding it hard to get interest in his usual hobbies. It is these problems that we have been trying very hard to find some help with, but we cannot find anything about recovery after aortic aneurysm surgery – maybe because so many people die unless it is discovered in a hospital, as Derek’s was.

[i:8ff0f84e2a]This message was automatically imported from the original Patient Experience[/i:8ff0f84e2a]

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4 Replies

  • Posted

    My fiance has an aortic aneurysm. They can't put a stent up his groin as the aneurysm is too large & too close to the kidney so they will need to open him up. It was only discovered because he had an ultra sound for kidney stones. I was hoping to find some good news stories on the net and am pleased about Derek. My man is Dennis. He is 57 and smoked up until 2 weeks ago. He needs to be checked to make sure he is healthy enough to cope with the operation. His is 5.9cm and is obvously dangerous as he is getting into the hospital very quickly. It is very worrying. If there are any sites where others have experienced this and recovered from the operation it would be beneficial to me. We have been told it will be 6 months until he is ok and he will be very tired.
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  • Posted

    Hi there I hope eveything went well my hubby 56 just underwent a AAA 24th April 15, almost 10 days for today he has temps that are about 37.4 -38.5, ESR is 124 come down fro 270, he has started eating solids after 5 days on drip and ice, lost 4 kilos He only started bowel moveents on Friday e has vomited a couple of times before mainly bile as he was not on any solids, but now he says once he goes and uses his bowels, he feels sick in his stomach, about 4 days after operation they did an ct with IVf for chest and abdomen gastrointoloist said they did not notice anything wrong with stomach area on scan, dr who operated on him too said scan looks good only thing was there was a bit of damage on kidney when it was clamped but said that should not be ay issue, even the kidney doctor said the same ater viewing scan said that if there is a issue they will do a keyhole surgery later and fix it but said the blood and urine flow was good, soon after operation though his cretanine went above 200 and then it dropped to 150 not sure what it s nowdoctors are giveing a wait ad watch still in hospital, did any of your husbands have high temps or any of these issues, and if so what was the reason. God Bless you all

    hg

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  • Posted

    I hate to say it there is no help if you have aorta aneurysm  I need operation mine is 7.0 cm but if i get repair i  don't know what happens after that

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    • Posted

      There is life after an Aortic Aneuyrsm, the physical recovery is similar to those that have suffered a heart attack... Physical Therapy/Exercise & healthy eating. Nothing to worry about, there are many survivors who are living & loving life. Some run marathons, some swim long distance. Aortic Warriors videos on youtube.

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