Sean Kingston’s Jet Ski Injuries Included a Torn Aorta!

In an interview with Today correspondent Natalie Morales, pop singer Sean Kingston revealed that the injuries he sustained in a jet ski accident in May almost killed him-twice! As we reported on May 31st, Kingston’s initial injuries included a broken jaw, fractured wrist and water in his lungs. Eleven days later, just as he was about the leave the hospital, Kingston had a searing pain in his chest. Doctors diagnosed a torn aorta and took him immediately for open heart surgery to repair it.  The “Beautiful Girls ” singer is now home from the hospital and feeling good. He’s lost 70 pounds, and is living a much healthier lifestyle. He says he feels “blessed” that he is still alive because “his work is not  yet.”

A tear in the aorta is medically known as an aortic dissection. This is the same condition that killed actor John Ritter in 2003 and U.S. Envoy Richard Holbrooke last December.

The aorta is the main blood vessel that takes blood from the heart to the rest of the body. In aortic dissection, damage to the innermost lining of the aorta allows blood to dissect its way into the middle layer. Over time, the wall of the blood vessel can balloon out. This weakens the wall of the aorta, and if it reaches a critical point, the wall can rupture, leading to sudden death.

Five Things You Need to Know About Aortic Dissection (“Torn Aorta”):

  1. Thoracic aortic dissection is a medical emergency. The death rate increases 1% every hour the diagnosis and surgical repair are delayed.
  2. Severe pain is the #1 symptom. Seek immediate emergency medical care for a sudden onset of severe pain in the chest, stomach, back or neck. The pain is likely to be sharp, tearing, ripping, moving or so unlike any pain you have ever had that you feel something is very wrong.
  3. A torn aorta can mimic heart attack.
  4. A personal or family history of thoracic disease puts you at risk.
  5. Lifestyle and trauma can trigger aortic dissection. It is possible to trigger an aortic dissection through injury to the chest, extreme straining associated with body building,  drug abuse, poorly controlled high blood pressure or by discontinuing necessary blood pressure medications.

For more information about aortic dissection, click here to go to the Resounding Health Casebook on the topic.

Here is the full interview with Natalie Morales:

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Michele R. Berman, M.D. was Clinical Director of The Pediatric Center, a private practice on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. from 1988-2000, and was named Outstanding Washington Physician by Washingtonian Magazine in 1999. She was a medical internet pioneer having established one of the first medical practice websites in 1997. Dr. Berman also authored a monthly column for Washington Parent Magazine.

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