Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection

Lucky in Vegas

November 27, 2016

My story starts and ends in Vegas this past August . My wife had a work event in Vegas and spouses were invited. To start, I’m a 44 years old. My total cholesterol is 123, HDL @ 45, LDL @65 and Tri @ 64 (pretty good numbers). I know this because the week prior I had my yearly physical, blood work, EKG, etc.

On Saturday morning we got up had breakfast and walked from the MGM to the Venetian. Once inside the Venetian my wife asked me “are you feeling OK?”. I replied “I think so why? “. Her response was “I’ve never seen you sweat like this”. Other than being sweaty, I felt fine – no pain or anything. After a few minutes the sweating didn’t subside and I decided something was wrong. We found a Hotel employee and asked them to call and ambulance.

When the ambulance arrived they took my vitals and hooked me up to a EKG and told me I was not having a heart attack. My blood pressure was 122 over 80, pulse was 72 bpm and apparently my EKG was “Rock Steady”. The paramedics went on to tell me I was most likely Over-dehydrated which caused symptoms, which then caused a panic attack which then made me think I was having a heart attack and they actually advised me to not go to the hospital. Interesting enough, by this time I had stopped sweating but I insisted on going to the hospital. Eventually they took me.

Once in the ER, blood work was started and everything was was within normal limits (even trobonin levels). I was then administered a chest x-Ray and a CT Angiography with and without contrast. Blood work was pulled every 2 hours for the next 6 hours. The scary part is nothing was detected – the CTA results actually said “No signs of disection”! Eventually the attending Dr came in and said “Good news, bad news. Bad news is I don’t know what’s wrong with you, Good news is your heart is solid!” He kept me over night and I had a Stress test the following morning. The Cardiologist came to my room and delivered the Stress Test results. His diagnosis was “your test result is very underwhelming, there is no reason you can’t be discharged, go home and follow up with your Dr at home if symptoms persist (remember, I wasn’t having any symptoms – no pain in chest, arm, jaw, etc).

My wife asked the Cardiologist what the next test/step would be and he responded “An Angiogram”. By this time it is Sunday afternoon. I said OK, let’s do an Angiogram. The Dr said his schedule was booked for the next few days and that I could have the test at home. I replied “I’m not leaving Vegas until we know what’s going on”. The Cardiologist then said, “You need peace of mind that you are fine, Let’s do it right now”. 20 minutes later I was laying on the table and 45 minutes after that the Cardiologist was apologizing to my wife after he found my SCAD in my Distal RCA. 1 Stent was put in and I was discharged the next day.

I have had no issues since the procedure but minus the extreme sweating I didn’t have symptoms to start with. I have had a follow up CTA in October and was given a clean Bill of health and full release to resume all normal activities. My 1 issue I have had is Anxiety attacks. I’m learning every day to NOT play the “what if” game and over analyze how things could have ended up. I’m fortunate in the fact that I live within a couple hours of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester and am currently trying to get involved in their study groups to learn more about this condition and rate of recurrence.

The moral of my story is to always be your own advocate when it comes to your health. Thanks for taking the time to read this.