Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection

I thought I had a virus!

January 9, 2016

I was/am an elite ultra distance runner. I was 25 miles into a 30 mile trail race running well until I felt totally exhausted instantly and staggered across a road and lay down on the pavement. I just felt I wanted to sleep.

After about 15-30 minutes a race volunteer lay me across their backseat and took me back to HQ. The race medic tried to get me to eat and drink then when I told him this would make me sick called me an ambulance. They gave me an ECG but said I could choose to go home or go to hospital for further tests. I chose to go home so was driven home and went to bed. I assumed I must have had a virus which combined with the run had caused my collapse.

I spent most of the week in bed then a further week resting at home. During this time I visited my GP and had another ECG which he sent to the hospital ” just to be sure.” I went back to work. I walked lots -up to7 miles on one occasion and swam – up to 2500m but still did not feel well. I was getting a tightness in my throat/feeling breathless walking up a hill I could usually run up.  6 weeks later I was finally given an echocardiogram, an angiogram and then given 2 stents. I also then had to have 4 pints of blood due to internal bleeding and low blood pressure.

I am back to walking and swimming but still haven’t run. The idea that I have had a heart attack is taking a lot of mental adjustment and I have been given almost no guidance to date other than to avoid strenuous activities. I have gone from taking no medication ever to 5 pills a day and feel light headed and tired a lot of the time.

I am 48 and hope that in time I will get back to running ,mountains, and triathlon.