Skip to comments.How a Torn Aorta Can Do Lethal Damage
Posted on 12/20/2010 10:19:32 PM PST by neverdem
The death of the veteran diplomat Richard C. Holbrooke last week shocked Americans and his many colleagues around the world. Mr. Holbrooke, 69, was a larger-than-life figure, a fearless and robust man who was apparently struck down without warning.
He became ill on a Friday, and was dead by Monday. According to government officials, the cause was a tear in his aorta, the artery that carries blood from the heart to vessels that feed the rest of the body.
Mr. Holbrooke underwent 21 hours of surgery from Friday to Saturday to repair the damage, and then another seven-hour operation on Sunday, all at George Washington University Medical Center in Washington. But no amount of surgery could save him.
Aortic tears may be unfamiliar to most people, but they kill at least 2,000 Americans a year, and possibly more, because some of the deaths may be mistakenly attributed to heart attacks. Tears are more common in men than in women, and most likely in people from 40 to 70. Their causes include uncontrolled high blood pressure, atherosclerosis and a genetic tendency to have weak tissue or an abnormal valve in the aorta. There may be no warning signs before the tear occurs.
The aorta is the biggest artery in the body, more than an inch wide in some spots. It has three layers; most tears start in the innermost one. Blood can then force its way into the tear and separate the layers, or peel them apart a type of damage called aortic dissection.
A flap and a false channel can form inside the aorta and impede blood flow. And the pressure from the blood can keep enlarging the tear and the flap. If the tear goes all the way through and the aorta ruptures, death can be almost immediate...
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
Einstein also died from one of these.
Didn’t John Ritter die of this too? And he was a good deal younger than Einstein or Holbrooke.
Yes, Ritter did. He was 54.
Wouldn't this sentence alone be self explanatory to anyone at all familiar with what an Aorta is?
If you walked into an clinic..what would this ultra sound scan of your heart cost? Cash..no insurance?
this is what John Ritter died from, and the previous first gentleman of the Philippines actually was diagnosed and lived through the surgery....
In related news: Water wet, fire burns.
If you have any concerns don't mess around. That's why I got into this field, I
don't want to see anyone else’s family be devastated by this if I can help it.
Freepmail me if you want to discuss it further, I don't mind at all.
I had the same tin foil thoughts......
Yes and Spokeshave is OK after ultrasound view.
A ruptured aorta is what killed John Lennon too, although in his case it wasn’t due to natural causes.
It would be not self explanatory to the actual nature of the pathology in a dissecting aorta, IMHO. That's why I included the illustration in comment# 1. It could have been complicated by an aneurysm.
Why didn't they take him to Cuba? According to Moose Moore they have fantastic health care on the little Caribbean island. Oh wait they banded his movie down there because is was full of Barbara Streisand.
"What is 'massive internal bleeding' Alex!"
Good to hear that. Did you get the ultrasound as a precaution, or did something else bring you to getting it done?
I can’t emphasize enough to my family and friends to get screened, this truly is a silent killer. It can be acute as well, if you get in an accident and suffer any chest trauma it can happen that way as well.
Holbrook would still be alive if he had retired and tended his garden and orchids. But he was unable to do this. I’ll bet his wife told him to slow down but his massive ego demanded that he stay with his diplomatic missions. In Yugoslavia he helped Muslims take over Kosovo. So he was dynamic and kicked up a lot of dust traveling around on diplomacy..... But to what avail? Only an idiot helps Muslims expand their territories.
I have regular echoes because I was on Adriamycin, I am lucky there was no heart damage at all. Also luckily there is no heart disease in my family, I have low BP and a tota cholestorol of 130 with low tryglycerides.
Since he was a frequent flyer I suspect he was on blood thinners which impeded the normal clotting that would have been necessary following the first operation.
Didnt’ this take Princess Diana’s life as well?
Holbrooke was married to Peter Jennings ex wife.
John Ritter’s dad Tex Ritter died from a “heart attack” in 1973, but some docs wonder if he died of the ruptured aorta.IIRC, Ritter’s brother got himself checked for this after John’s death.
A flap and a false channel can form inside the aorta and impede blood flow."
I had this happen to me but in my carotid artery about 6 years ago. It was spontaneous and I never had a stroke, just a migraine headache for a couple of days prior along with pulsatile tinnitus (heard my pulse in my ear, loud and continuous, couldn't sleep because of it).
The doctors put me on Plavix for 6 months and it healed on its own. My grandfather had an abdominal aortic aneurysm and I have mild hypertension (not on meds yet), but otherwise no explanation was given for it. I did have a really weird and intense cold 2 weeks prior, which the docs found interesting as there does seem to be some relationship between viruses and spontaneous carotid artery dissections.
Mrs. Prince of Space
I don’t recall that she wasn’t shot with five (extremely nasty) hollow-point bullets.
Those things are so bad that the military doesn’t even use them.
Katie Morton ...I know. She has buried two type A personalities
Loss of Insulin-Producing Cells in Diabetics Might Be Reversed With Sperm Precursor Cells Oocyte Precursor Cells might do the trick too. It's surgery for either sex to get those stem cells if this a viable technique.
FReepmail me if you want on or off my health and science ping list.
They’re talking about how a tiny tear, too small to do any harm by itself, can grow into a big one.
Just googled in Princess Diana and it says she suffered a torn aorta in the auto crash.
Ouch. I thought that maybe she died of cervical dislocation or some other blunt-force injury.
My grandfather had an aortic aneurysm. They were able to repair it with a then-revolutionary new material called Dacron. Twelve years later, it failed, and there was not enough strong tissue left for another repair.
The patch held for twelve years, which may not be a great record, but it meant the world to me. Pop-Pop died when I was eleven.
I assume they knew it was there, and that it didn’t break. Once that happens, it is touch and go, and usually go. Glad you got to know the man.
Goes with what I said earlier, acute due to chest trauma.
Sorry for your loss, but glad you got to spend another 12 years with your Pop-Pop. My grandfather had the same procedure.
Thanks for sharing this.
My mother died of a dissecting aorta, and she had been very ill previously with some virus that swelled her lymph glands.
Mum told the chief surgeon..."are you the surgeon...you are such a nice young man....but I passed my shelf life...you're not going to muck me about!
Yep. Seen how they kill (and how fast someone dies) way too many times.
Bacterial infections and even simple things as teeth cleaning, tooth extractions, etc. can lead to valvular endocarditis, don’t know if that’s what happened to you, but as I said previously anything that involves the aortic valve should be closely monitored. The aortic valve is the most scrutinized heart structure when doing an echo exam, when a problem is found it can be life changing and as an echocardiographer it is important to determine the severity.
Hers was a torn pulmonary vein due to trauma. Traumatic rupture of the aorta is also common in high speed collisions, seat belts or no. 95 per cent do not survive.
He would be alive today if he went to Cuba for treatment.
You beat me to it.
If it ain’t one thing, it’s something else.
As I approach 69, there is but another mortal consideration
$640. Not counting Dr. appointments, etc.
Is there not a test that checks the blood vessels in your entire body?
I am sure prices would be all over the map but here in SW Fl there was an outfit advertising heavily for three tests together to completely check your circulatory system for $199 They had a semi they went location to location in no doctor you were supposed to take the results to your doc to get treated if needed. Have not seen one of their ads recently but them I have stopped watching TV.