Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection

Didn’t Even Get To Drink the Wine

August 11, 2017

While I don’t smoke or do drugs, I do enjoy a glass of wine every now and then. As a 36 year old mother of two on summer vacation from my full time elementary teaching job, I was attempting to unwind and have a glass out on my back porch this past Sunday, August 6, 2017. It was around 4:30 in the afternoon (come on, it was 5 o’clock somewhere) and as I lifted the glass of really cheap Moscato, I experienced an excruciating burning and squeezing in my chest. I thought, “I think I’m having a heart attack, but why am I having a heart attack?” I am in shape with no family history of heart disease. I exercise and have perfect cholesterol and blood pressure.

I laid down on my couch to try and wait out the gripping pain, calling out to my husband in the bathroom, who responded that it was just gas, give him a minute. I asked my 7 year old daughter to grab Mommy’s phone, and through the pain I googled my condition: chest pain and tingling arms and legs. The second site listed was “symptoms of heart attacks in women.” I screamed for my husband to get out and bring me to the ER. My 5 year old son woke up from his nap and we piled into the car. We drove the 4 minutes to our local hospital and were whisked through ER triage because of my symptoms.

At first I was diagnosed with Prinzmetal’s Angina, a heart spasm that mimics a heart attack, but the phone call to a larger hospital and their cardiologist had me admitted overnight “to be safe.” In the morning my blood levels were ridiculously high, and my PCP called for an ambulance to drive me to the hospital with cardiac specialists.

A very knowledgable doctor told me what he believed my issue was, and SCAD was confirmed with the combination of an echocardiogram and catheter cardio. Man did the later suck big time. They started me on Aspirin, Clopidogrel, Metoprolol, and Lisinopril. I handled them all well, and subsequent blood tests (8 in 2 days) showed lowered levels of troponin, so after another night in the hospital, they sent me home.

Across the street from the hospital is a Mexican restaurant known for its margaritas. My younger sister happened to be the one at the hospital when they decided to discharge me, so we headed over to celebrate. I wanted to dance a little salsa and yell, “Arrrrriba!” Were it not for my fear of cardio and sore groin from the catheter, I probably would have.

I’ve been home for two days now, and while I am trying to resume life as usual, I am slower and trying to take it easy. Every now and then after some cardio, my chest feels a bit heavy and I freak out a bit and sit down to relax.
I have a follow up with a local cardiologist the day before I teach teachers in the district, and classroom set up is coming right up. I will be sure to ask for help and make sure I enjoy a glass every now and then.