Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection

New way of living – October 2015

November 6, 2015

I am a 38 year old mother of 4. After a routine ultrasound in 2010 my doctors noticed the bottom tip of my heart was not functioning. I fell pregnant soon after this ultrasound and my obstetric doctor decided I was not to have an angiogram (I lost my first baby at 22 wks gestation). After my third baby in 2012 I had the angiogram and it was determined that I had had a silent heart attack, when and why they didn’t know. I’ve had a history of hypertension since the age of 14.

After my last pregnancy I began exercising, mainly walking and riding an exercise bike at home. I lost 14kgs in the year after the birth. Have no diabetes, not overweight, rarely drink alcohol. I was preparing to ride a 34km charity ride coming up. When riding at home one afternoon I noticed i was having pain in the middle of my chest. Naturally I put it down to ingestion, took a drink of water and continued riding. The pain worsened slightly and i felt breathless. I stopped riding and googled heart attack symptoms, during this time my jaw was aching terribly and both arms were becoming heavy. I messaged my husband about the symptoms. When my baby woke from her nap I struggled to pick her up from her cot. Immediately I had to put her down as my arms couldn’t cope with the weight and the pain was becoming worse.

I attended the local hospital and they started treating me. I figured they would give me the comment of “its nothing”, this time I was admitted after a noted change in blood markers. After another angiogram, it was noticed that the bottom tip of my heart had started functioning again very slightly but there was a definite dissection in that area. I am now on all precautionary heart medications – aspirin, beta blockers, high blood pressure medications.

My life has definitely changed and I have to restart my exercise routine and as a mother of young children rethink how to not have this happen again by gently repairing my heart and way of life.