The sobering reality is, health problems can happen to anyone, anytime, and anywhere, even to those who are in good physical condition. Such was the case for Jim Burgess, who suffered a heart aneurysm and subsequent aortic dissection in November 2013. Following an emergency surgery, while considering his post-surgery care needs, Jim utilized the MyConsult Online Medical Second Opinion program to seek the expert advice of a Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgeon at Cleveland Clinic. Cleveland Clinic is ranked number one in the United States for cardiology and heart surgery since 1995 by U.S. News & World Report.
Jim, 83, a resident of Georgia, says because he had been in good health prior to this event, he was completely taken by surprise when he experienced the aneurysm. "Frankly, it just hit me unexpectedly. I was out behind our home giving my daughter a golf lesson when all of a sudden; I felt excruciating pain," he says. "We called 9-1-1 and an ambulance took me to a local hospital. They performed a CT scan and determined that my condition was very serious, so a helicopter flew me to Atlanta where I underwent surgery for a DeBakey Type I acute aortic dissection." The dissection in Jim's ascending aorta was fixed at this time. However, the dissection in his descending aorta was not addressed because Jim's surgeon determined that was too big a surgery to safely complete all at once.
Jim recovered from his surgery quickly and was back to work at his law practice within a few months. However, he wanted another opinion to determine next steps for addressing the dissection in his descending aorta and how safe and successful that surgery would be, so he traveled to a nearby hospital to discuss his treatment options. After a thorough review, Jim's specialist recommended that with his good physical condition he should simply watch and wait without opting for additional procedures.
Understandably, Jim had some concerns about not addressing his condition right away for such as serious issue. "I was really hoping I could just get this thing fixed and not have to worry about it anymore," he says. "It's something that's constantly on your mind: 'Is it going to just erupt out of the blue one day?'"
So Jim began to investigate his options for another opinion. Familiar with Cleveland Clinic's outstanding reputation for cardiology and heart surgery, Jim visited the organization's website where he discovered a video by Eric Roselli, MD, Director of the Aorta Center and a Staff Surgeon in the Department of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, providing a detailed description of endovascular repair for an aortic dissection. Jim wondered if it could be a viable option for his situation, so he decided to submit a consultation request to Cleveland Clinic's MyConsult Online Medical Second Opinion program to see if he might be a candidate for this type of repair.
Cleveland Clinic's MyConsult® Online Medical Second Opinion program is a sophisticated, Web-based extension of Cleveland Clinic's 90-plus-year role as one of America's most respected referral institutions. The secure, online program provides medical second opinions from Cleveland Clinic specialists for more than 1,200 life-threatening and life-changing diagnoses.
Once Jim had gathered all of the necessary medical information, he mailed it to Cleveland Clinic where it was triaged by the MyConsult nursing team and forwarded to Dr. Roselli. Next, Jim received Dr. Roselli's recommendations. "I felt that Dr. Roselli's consultation was very comprehensive and fully described my situation," Jim says. "He confirmed that surgery of any kind was not appropriate at this time, and that we should continue to monitor my situation and wait. However, if my dissection grew in excess of 5.5 centimeters, he would recommend intervention through open surgery. Although part of me wanted to just address this right away, Dr. Roselli's report made me feel confident that the course I am taking is the best route for my situation." In fact, Jim was so pleased with his experience; he wrote Dr. Roselli a letter to express his appreciation for the responsiveness of the MyConsult nursing team as well as Dr. Roselli's opinion and the thoughtful way in which he had expressed it.
Over two years since his surgery, Jim says he's working out every day, eating a proper diet and feeling great. He says he'd absolutely recommend MyConsult to anyone seeking a medical second opinion. "I was extremely impressed with my experience with Cleveland Clinic, the nurses who assisted me and Dr. Roselli himself. They truly provided excellent customer service," concludes Jim. "Thanks to this gracious team I now have peace of mind that I'm in the perfect place and doing all the right things to manage this difficult condition."