Joe F's Story

The expertise of the Heart & Vascular Institute is why I’m here today.

Joe F.It was a September morning like any other. The sun was out, the air was crisp, and Joe Frattaroli was ready to take on the day. Little did he know that a rare heart condition would change everything.

Joe started feeling pain in his chest. It was a pain he’d never experienced before. As a former bypass patient, he knew it wasn’t a heart attack. He also knew it wasn’t something he should ignore. As Joe’s wife Jean prepared to take him to the hospital to get checked out, things got progressively worse. The pain shifted to his entire back and increased greatly. That’s when they called 911 and went straight to the emergency room at Stamford Hospital.

Once there, and stabilized, the cardiac team diagnosed Joe with Aortic Dissection – an extremely rare and often fatal tearing of the inner wall of the aorta. Once the inner wall tears, blood enters the area between the inner and outer wall, starving the vital organs for blood flow and usually killing the patient before it can be fixed. 

The initial plan was for Joe to have surgery that day, but after consultation among his physicians, the decision was made to wait until blood thinners were flushed from his system. Unfortunately, time was not on Joe’s side. The following day, Joe’s condition declined dramatically. Thoracic surgeon, Dr. Michael Coady and his team were called in to perform emergency surgery.

After nine hours in the operating room, Joe’s surgery was a success. He was in ICU for three days and released from the hospital a week later. Needless to say, Joe is tremendously grateful for the team who saved his life.