Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection

My Heart Stopped but I was Blessed

February 2, 2017

I am a 55 year old female with no previous symptoms or problems with my heart, until I had my heart attack on Dec 28, 2016. I was getting ready for work, placed dinner in the crock-pot and was cleaning up when out of the blue I felt a faint but strange sensation between my shoulder blades that moved quickly to the front of my upper chest.

The pain was intense and something I had never felt before. I went and got my husband, who had just got off from working a 12 hr. night shift, and told him what was going on, that we had to go to the ER. He had been an EMT at one time and taught CPR. He started drilling me on symptoms of a heart attack. I kept telling him,” no just go.”

When we got to the ER they started to treat me, ran an EKG and said that I was having a heart attack. A stent would need to be done, and I would need to be transported to another hospital, because that they don’t do stents there. An emergency transport arrived within minutes. Just as they were going to transfer me to the other gurney I coded. I remember the monitor lights alarms going off, that was the last thing I remember. They performed CPR and electrical cardio shock. When I was revived, I felt as thou I had awakened from a deep sleep. The doctor told me that my heart had stopped.

I was in somewhat of a daze as they transported me to the other hospital. During the angiogram the doctor stopped and asked for a consult with another Cardiologist. I could hear the conversation with a lot of medical terms but I remember them deciding that a stent would be problematic and that I should be treated medically.  Meaning with medicine and watched like a hawk.

I was admitted in the coronary intensive care unit when the doctor talked with me and my husband, about what had happened, that I had a SCAD, and why a stent was not used. It was in the left main and left anterior descending artery with intramural hematoma. He thinks that part of the blockage might have been dislodged when they did the CPR and electrical cardio shock. He also said SCAD is rare, and that they don’t have protocols for it, there was no anticipated time when I would be discharged; it was going to be a day by day thing.

I spent 3 days hooked up to IVs. The first two day’s I wasn’t able to get out of bed, and the third day they let me use the commode. Numerous test where done. The last test I did was another angiogram. If all went well this was my ticket for discharge. The doctor came back after the angiogram and said he was pleased with what he had seen and things were on the mend. I was able to go home on Saturday afternoon with the instructions of no work or driving until after my next appointment on the 30th of January if all went well.

As I think about it, I realize that I was blessed. It was only about 20-30 minutes before I coded in the ER. If we had waited to go to the ER, if the ER doctor had not reacted as fast as he did to do CPR or the Cardiologist did not know enough on how to treat me, this could have had a different outcome. I have little heart damage and have been able to make a full recovery.