SCAD is the most common cause Myocardial Infarction of women under age 50 and postpartum which is frequently misdiagnosed and mistreated. It is not related to arteriosclerosis or adverse lifestyle choices but is oftentimes seen in young athletic women or women postpartum especially multiparity. The American Heart Association reports up to 30% of women under the age of 50 presenting with MI's are experiencing SCAD events. (AHA Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection: Current State of the Science). From Mayo Clinic: Spontaneous Coronary Artery Research Program
From the Victor Change Institute in Australia:
Due to the risk of further dissection placing stents is not recommended except for specific situations. (Conservative Management, Careful Diagnosis Key for Good SCAD Outcomes)
Many SCAD Survivors are overprescribed medications which reduce quality of life and increases risk of depression. A conservative approach is recommended in many cases of baby aspirin and a low dose beta blocker.
SCAD is a tear in the coronary artery which can lead to a hematoma and cause a heart attack due to partial or full occlusion. Your troponin (cardiac enzyme) levels will be elevated indicating stress or damage to the heart muscle.
SCAD typically occurs among younger healthy women oftentimes who are athletic or postpartum. It is not related to coronary artery disease or plaque buildup in the arteries but has many yet unknown variables. There are some genetic disorders which may place women at higher risk such as Fibromuscular Dysplasia (FMD)
Coronary angiography (PDF) is done during cardiac catheterization. In cardiac catheterization (often called cardiac cath), your doctor puts a very small, flexible, hollow tube (called a catheter) into a blood vessel in the wrist or groin. The procedure is usually quick and painless. A stent placement may occur under special conditions, but caution is advised due to risk of further dissection.
There are a significant number of SCAD Survivors that experienced an acute stress event or chronic stress leading up to SCAD. Find ways to manage your stress level to possibly reduce the risk of recurrence. See our Stress Management Program on this website to enroll. Find out as much as possible about SCAD and make sure you discuss your fears and concerns with supportive others.
Your artery dissection needs to heal so eat nutrient dense foods and a well- balanced diet. Foods with anti-inflammatory factors are highly recommended. If you are athletic make sure you are eating enough calories and nutrients to meet your energy expenditure.
Obtain a good support system - Facebook SCAD support pages are excellent. Please check the FB page @SCADHopeWorldwide. Advocate for yourself to meet your needs - most hospitals have medical social workers or psychologists. What do you need to improve your quality of life and outcome?