Tuesday 18th June 2024
More people die from aortic dissections than on our roads each year. Despite being a life-threatening condition, the majority of acute aortic dissections are treatable when an early diagnosis is achieved. Unfortunately, up to two-thirds of diagnoses are either missed or delayed resulting in preventable deaths.
The Aortic Dissection Awareness and Aortic Dissection Charitable Trust are UK and Ireland charities that support patients and families affected by aortic dissections while also working towards improving diagnosis, increasing survival rates, and reducing disability due to aortic dissection.
My personal connection with these charities is through the experience we had with our Mum. In November 2022 she collapsed at the gym with an acute Type A aortic dissection*. Despite presenting with classical symptoms and medical staff who were aware of her familial history of aortic dissection, this was missed. She was subsequently placed on a trolley in the hallway of an A&E department. Only after presenting with a large stroke was her care escalated.
After eventually receiving the correct diagnosis she then awaited an ambulance transfer. For a case of this severity the ambulance transfer service has a target time of 18 minutes. Mum’s took more than two and half hours.
Despite successful surgery for the aortic dissection, a deterioration of the stroke Mum had suffered caused near total death of the right side of her brain. She never woke-up following this surgery but was sustained through life support long enough to be able to donate her liver and kidneys before passing away.
Unfortunately, our traumatic and profoundly sad experience is not something unique for aortic dissection sufferers and their families. During the final days of Mum’s life and in the weeks and months following her preventable passing, Aortic Dissection Awareness provided valuable information and support.
The conviction I feel towards this cause, has led me to undertake a fundraiser of immense proportions but not less than what my Mum and the situation deserve. So, if you are to give a little, it will help a lot.
N.B. I am also raising funds for the RNLI, not because I anticipate having to use them during this fundraiser..! But because I called on their services in March of 2019, when I dislocated my shoulder two-three kilometres off-shore in high-seas. Fortunately, I made it to shore before requiring rescue, but knowing they are there provides hope during the bleak situations we can encounter when at sea.
All three charities save lives in different ways, and to be able to raise funds and awareness for their causes is a real privilege.
*For those who are not familiar with this term, the aorta is the largest blood vessel in the body. It supplies the whole body with blood. Type A refers to where the tear or dissection is, which in this case is around the arch of the aorta.