Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection

Can’t Belive this Happened to Me

December 14, 2019

November 10, 2019, started out like most days. Up by 0115 hours, hit the gym for an hour and a half and then off to work by 0430 hours. I felt really good after my workout and even indulged in a donut someone had brought to work. I am a 52 year old male in great shape. I workout 9 times a week and had only missed maybe 3 workouts since the beginning of Summer. I eat healthy and had never been hospitalized for anything. I felt like I was in the best shape of my life and everything seemed to be working perfectly.

At about 1000 hours, I began having intense pain between my shoulder blades I thought for sure I was just having indigestion and regretted eating the donut. I went in a vacant office and tried to lay down, stretch, burp, anything to relieve the pain. After about 15 minutes, I called a coworker and asked her to run to the store and buy some Tums. She came back and I thought for sure I would be cured. After another few minutes passed, my co-worker insisted that she call an ambulance. I told her not to do it but she went over my head and called.

I was totally embarrassed when the ambulance arrived. There was no way I was having a heart attack. When the paramedics hooked me up to the EKG they got this funny look on their faces and handed me some baby aspirin. On my way to the hospital, the paramedics gave me some pain medication so by the time I arrived at the emergency room I had convinced myself that I had heartburn.

The ER doctor took my vitals and my blood but even he was skeptical that I had any heart “event” as I did not meet any of the criteria. In fact he was going to release me after the first blood test came back negative but stated that protocol required a second test after a few hours had elapsed.

Approximately two hours later the ER doctor came back into the room and stated that I was not going to believe it but that my blood test indicated that I had a heart attack and that I was being admitted into the coronary unit of the hospital. I was completely shocked. I had already started planning my evening back at home.

The next day the coronary angiogram confirmed that I had SCAD. Who knew something like SCAD even existed. The coronary doctor advised that they only see SCAD in one percent of their patients. (This is a busy metropolitan hospital in Los Angeles.) They elected not to put in any type of stint and it will allegedly heal on its own.

Now what? I have lived a completely active lifestyle my entire life. I lift weights, run, bike, hike SCUBA. I have started walking again and my doctor told me that I should be able to resume an active lifestyle. However, reading some of the other stories about multiple occurrences it has scared me.