Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection

Image of Perfect Health

February 3, 2019

July of 2018, at the age of 53, I suffered spontaneous coronary arterial dissection. The first symptom was tremendous discomfort in my left arm, followed by dizziness and loss of color in my face. Fortunately, I was at a family event rather than alone, as I may have resigned myself to a wait and see approach and never have gone to the ER.

My sister-in-law who’s a registered nurse took my pulse and confirmed it was racing. I did have a very faint but consistent twinge of pain on the left side of my chest. In general, I felt fine and could easily have talked myself out of the seriousness of the situation, but logic prevailed in deciding to go to the ER just to be on the safe side. After an initial EKG, I was promptly admitted to to St. Raphael’s Hospital, part of Yale New Haven Health System in Connecticut ( where I used to live and was visiting from Texas). Medical staff could not have been more professional and responsive. After bloodwork, I took nitroglycerin which made my heart rate drop drastically—the first discomfort I experienced during the entire episode. Following an ultrasound, the cardiologist brought me to the Cath lab for an angiogram, during which my heart rate also dropped precipitously. As soon as he saw the dissection he immediately backed out. Took normal regimen of heart patient pharmaceuticals for several weeks.

Follow up with cardiologist in Texas confirmed SCAD and directed me to take baby aspirin for life and recommended low dose Statin as precaution. Except for gestational diabetes, my medical history indicates no risk. Levels of cholesterol ideal, arteries squeaky clean, blood pressure always normal, glucose normal, etc. Medical history: Some osteoarthritis and general joint pain. 5’2” at 124 lbs. Exercise religiously and consume low carb diet of good proteins, fruits and vegetables. Former smoker through college and grad school, about 8 years. Regular consumption of wine. Consistent prayer and mediation. Seven healthy pregnancies with gestational controlled. Still experiencing menses.