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Central Ohio woman shares close call with aortic aneurysm

An aortic aneurysm is a rupture that can cause massive internal bleeding and is usually fatal.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — When it comes to matters of the heart, Jane Beathard is a woman who speaks from the heart and personal experience.

"Never ignore any kind of unusual symptom," she said.

In 2018, Beathard was decorating her home for the Christmas holidays and felt a sudden pain.

"It wasn't indigestion, and it started in my chest and went up both sides of my neck and both sides of my head and out the top of my head," she said.

Had it not been for her friend and neighbor, Connie Dwyer, Beathard would have gone to bed. Instead, she was rushed to the hospital emergency room, thinking it was a heart attack. It was an aneurysm.

Dr. Nahush Mokadam, a cardiologist at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, said it was a fatal condition with the chances of dying at one percent per hour. 

"When an aorta enlarges, or a blood vessel enlarges and becomes an aneurysm, it thins out and can cause it to rupture or burst," said Dr. Mokadam.

Surgeons used 20 stitches to put Beathard's heart valve back in place in a seven-hour life-saving surgery. She spent two weeks in the hospital and three months recovering at home.

She is back to her active life, which includes volunteering at the hospital with her neighbor and friend, Connie Dwyer.

It's a journey she's happy to be alive to share.

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