Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection

55 miles of SCAD

July 24, 2017

I was on a long bike ride last week (55 miles) with a friend as we were training for a 200 mile bike ride next month. About 2 miles into the ride we hit our first long slow climb up a hill and I immediately felt complete exhaustion in my arms and legs…almost like they weren’t getting any oxygen, a burning sensation up all four limbs. I took the hill very slow and made it to the top and then immediately after I felt a pain in my chest.

I’ve had heartburn and pain on the left side of my chest for a few years now, many times after a bike ride, so it was similar to that. I assumed it was heartburn so I continued to ride. It never went away, I tried sitting up straight on the bike to ease the heartburn with no luck. I did finish the ride and although the hills were a struggle, I felt ok except for the nagging “heartburn”. That evening after taking some Tums and some prescription medication for heartburn, I decided to go the the hospital as the pain hadn’t let up or subsided at all.

Lo and behold, I tested positive for enzymes in my blood and my EKG showed signs of heart damage so they sent me over to the Cardiac hospital. I had suffered a SCAD in the right side of my heart and the loss of oxygen had “stunned” my heart and damaged it slightly. I’m home recovering now, taking it easy, bewildered and feeling lost as to how this happened. They tell me it’s such a rare event and I apparently have no plaque or cholesterol in my arteries, my heart was very healthy so they assure me I’ll make a full recovery. All of a sudden I”m on medications and off to cardiac rehab for physical therapy….life just turned on a dime. Next time I won’t ignore the chest pain and know more about what to look out for in the future.