Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection

I’m a 46 year old mother of 2 who had a Heart Attack & Cardiac Arrest

December 18, 2018

On November 6, 2018, I survived a SCAD Heart Attack as well as Cardiac Arrest. I was getting ready to leave my home for work that day and as I was walking down the stairs of my home to get my coat, all of the sudden, I had a terrible pain in my chest. I don’t know what made me do it (as I don’t think in a million years that I believed it was a heart attack at the time), but I took a baby aspirin and threw the bottle in my bag and my husband and I, left the house.

It was election day, so we went to vote quickly before we were planning to head into Manhattan for work. On the way to the car after voting, I told my husband that the pain was now going down my left arm. We still didn’t think it was a heart attack as I didn’t have any of the typical risk factors, but maybe a panic attack as I had been under a lot of stress and that seemed to fit more than anything else. We went to a local Urgent Care and they took me right away and did a quick EKG which showed nothing….the Doctor, however, urged us to go to the ER as he had a heart attack at 42 and said blood enzymes would show a lot more.

We took his advice and headed to the hospital. On the way there, in the span of 7-8 minutes, I began having a heart attack – it was some of the worst stabbing pains I’ve experienced, and they were getting worse by the second. I was seen immediately at the ER and the EKG now showed a heart attack….but the ER Doctor thought it must be pericarditis and he and the team left the room. In a minute or so, my husband yelled for them as my heart had stopped and my eyes had rolled to the back of my head.

That was the first of 3 times my heart would stop, and I was given chest compressions and defibrillated 4 times….once my heart was stable, I was quickly taken to the Cath Lab and given 2 stents as I had 100% blockage (no plaque) in my artery. It’s been 6 weeks since everything happened, and I am so incredibly grateful that I was under great care that day. They did not indicate it was SCAD per se initially, but they thought it was a tear or spasm…in looking for answers, I met my now Cardiologist in NY and he diagnosed it as SCAD and I’m going to see a Specialist in FMD soon to learn if that was the cause. I am still very fearful it will happen again but doing the best I can to educate myself on the condition and remain under the care of good Doctors.

Never in a million years did I think at 46 this could happen to me. I had never heard of SCAD and am adamant that more awareness is needed….As my Doctor put it, it’s not rare, but under diagnosed….that’s concerning to say the least and more research is desperately needed to address this as I want to do everything my power to prevent this from ever happening again to me or any other woman.