Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection

Mother with newborn

November 28, 2017

I had a SCAD late May 2015 4-6 days after I gave birth to our 3rd son (I had just turned 40). We had a close call with the delivery of our baby. We had over an hour drive to the hospital and we arrived with not much time to spare until I delivered him (no time for an epidural-boo). He had ‘meconium aspiration’ and if we hadn’t made it in time, we would have lost him because suctioning his lungs was crucial at delivery. He had a collapsed lung and was in the NIC U for the first 4 days-scary.

I had been having some mild symptoms a couple days after delivery (heaviness in chest-especially when lying down, felt off) but because we were so focused on our baby and I had just given birth, I dismissed them. We arrived home with our healthy newborn on day 4 post partum and 2 days later we were heading to our local hospital because I had chest pains, abdomen pain, shortness of breath (especially when laying down) and swelling of my ankles and feet. Like I said, I had dismissed many symptoms because of my post partum state and the massive sleep deprivation made things a blur. (ie) ‘my chest feels heavy because my milk just came in and my abdomen hurts because of nursing and he has been lying on my abdomen’) Our local hospital ran some tests (wanted to rule out blood clot…), gave me a blood thinner, did blood work, gave me heavy duty pain meds to help with the chest pains, monitored me overnight. In the morning, the ER dr gave us a prescription for heart burn and with the instructions to avoid salty food and discharged us!

We didn’t feel good about that diagnosis so we packed up and drove straight to the large, city hospital where we delivered our baby. It was there that tests revealed that I had fluid on my lungs and that my enzymes were ‘majorly elevated’. We were shocked to learn they suspected I had a heart attack (I was totally healthy-no heart history in my family…) I was then transferred to the Heart Institute for 3 weeks and had family/friends take turns assisting in caring for our nursing newborn to give my husband breaks. Thankfully our little guy was a settled, happy baby who didn’t disturb the other heart patients. I had an Angiogram which confirmed SCAD. I was put on betablockers and baby aspirin. Later on, I had an Echocardiogram which showed my heart had healed well. I did not need any stints put in or any surgeries.

I have since been discharged from the Heart Institute and am off all medication due to the side effects. I have not had any other episodes. My cardiologist suggested to not conceive again and to avoid things like weight lifting. He also said to keep an eye out during menopause with the hormone changes. Grateful for health and each day with my loved ones.