Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection

Cardiac arrest and near death in Italy at age 44

June 3, 2016

I had just turned 44 , was completely healthy and fit and left for Europe for Christmas in December 2004. I went skiing in Switzerland and then travelled to Florence with my daughter. I felt very tired but put it down to travelling and exhaustion after some long months studying and working.
It was cold outside and in Florence we went to the Uffizi Gallery. I did not take off my coat and it was hot inside. As I climbed the steps to see the drawings of Michelangelo I felt a tightness in my chest but thought it was just my lungs. I reached the first floor and felt light headed and wanted to lie down. I lay down on the floor. The gallery staff came running. A doctor looked at me and they called an ambulance. I felt woozy and was taken to the hospital.
On arrival the doctors there took an ECG and declared nothing wrong and after 2 hours let me go.
We went back to the Uffizi Gallery and I was absolutely exhausted. I wanted to sit down at every opportunity.
A few days later we travelled to Rome. In Rome I felt absolute exhaustion so spent the day travelling around on the big red tourist bus. I did not have the energy to walk. That evening I had terrible diahrrea and thought I must have caught a bug. I went to bed and slept soundly. Woke up in the morning at our hotel, had a shower, and felt so exhausted I told my daughter I did not feel up to any sightseeing.
Then suddenly a felt a huge squeeze on my chest and a feeling of great doom. I told my daughter to run for help and an ambulance. While she ran for help I felt death walking down the corridor towards me. I was too scared to move and tried to remain calm.
The ambulance took me to the hospital. In the emergency department I was told nothing was wrong. The ECG showed nothing. My daughter came up to me and told me I was ok. But I felt differently. I told her that no, something was seriously wrong. Then all I can remember was her scream and I blacked out and went into cardiac arrest.
When I woke up I was told that I had had a cardiac arrest and that my heart had stopped for more than 3 minutes, and that I now had 5 stents in my Left Anterior Descending artery. The language difficulties made it problematic understanding exactly what had happened.
I am now 55 and have had no issues whatsoever since that event. I take aspirin every day and pravastatin. I am tall and slim and have no weight problem. I am healthy and eat only fresh fruit, vegetables, meat and fish. I do not drink and I have never smoked or used drugs.
For regular exercise I walk long distances and ride my bike.
One of my sisters, also fit and slim, had a heart attack at age 36. Her heart built its own bypass. She is ok today too, as am I – touch wood!!!