Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection

Never healed…

December 8, 2018

2 and a half years ago or so, I remember having the chest pain; the heart attack. I was only 26. There were a series of them over the course of a week and then vanished. I had recently left my partner and had 3 young children I was raising. My youngest being only 6 months old. I didn’t have the time to see a doctor until a week later in which (due to my age and the contributing factors going on in my life) was told I was only having anxiety attacks.

In December last year (2017) I had this horrible debilitating cough, absolutely no energy and could not breathe properly of a night time. It was similar to asthma but not at the same time
I used to have asthma as a child so my doctor tried me on anti-hystamines which were to no effect. He then suggest a chest x-ray. The x-ray came back showing I had an enlarged heart and I was to go to hospital immediately. At first they thought it a viral infection that had attacked my heart but I had no symptoms of a flu except for the cough. Angiogram and MRI were done and they had found I had suffered a SCAD. Apparently in most people the artery heals itself. Mine never did. My whole left artery tore from top to bottom. I had an ejection fraction of 19%.

This year in August I knew if I kept going I was going to die. I could not breathe. My lungs stopped working by themselves the moment I fell asleep. I was dead on my feet. While still looking after my 6, 4 and 2 and a half year old. I couldn’t do it anymore. I admitted myself to emergency and was told it was all in my head and sent home. I went back a week later in which my blood pressure plumetted and the need for inotropes came into play. I was flown to Melbourne to the Alfred, one of (if not the lead) hospitals specialising in cardiology in Australia.

They tried weaning me off the inotropes but my heart couldn’t cope without it anymore and my blood pressure couldn’t stabilise every time they tried. I was told I needed an LVAD. I am now fitted with one while awaiting heart transplant. My own heart is too sick and cannot cope anymore. No one knows why or what caused my SCAD. I was healthy. Though I did get pneumonia every flu season for 4 years in a row prior to the heart attacks. They wonder if maybe I was already building up with fluid.

The LVAD has saved me. I know I’m still sick. I know my heart is still not well and still so so fragile. The right side of my heart is now fairly damaged from trying to compensate for my left ventricles lack of functioning. But I can now pick my children up and put them in the car without feeling like I need to sleep the rest of the day as a result. I cannot have a bath or swim as the controller cannot get wet. Nor can the tube that runs to it through my stomach and into my heart. But I don’t remember the last time or if I ever did feel this healthy. I do have my down days and there is no real in between. I am either really good, or really lifeless. I do hope to find our more about my condition but in a way I don’t mind neither. I just know the heart beating in my chest has been through a whole lot more than it should have for my age and cannot cope anymore.