Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection

SCAD After Pregnancy

October 15, 2015

I am 28 years old and delivered my third child on 08/18/2015. On September 5th, my family and I drove to Myrtle Beach for vacation. Early Sunday Morning (September 6th) at 3am I woke up with my left arm feeling numb, starting in my armpit and traveling down the inside of my arm all the way to the palm of left hand. I also felt a little nauseas and really not normal.

My husband immediately wanted me to go to the hospital, but I told him the numbness was going away and I fell back asleep. I woke up that morning at 9:30am and my husband asked if I was still having the same symptoms and I advised him I was; He again wanted me to go to the hospital to get checked out. Since I was breastfeeding and my main complaint was a numb left arm, I told him I thought it just might be my milk producing and it could be ‘sitting’ on a nerve in my armpit causing my arm to feel numb, so again I did not go to the hospital. The numbness in my arm was coming and going as was some minor chest pressure and weak feeling. We went down to the beach with all three of my children and as I was playing with my son, the weakness in my arm was getting worse and I was feeling a lot more fatigue (I described it as the feeling when you just finish running a long race and you just want to collapse at the finish line because your whole body is exhausted). I told my husband things were feeling a little worse and finally agreed to go to the emergency room at around 2pm.

I arrived in the ER and the doctor advised he sees young woman come into the ER all the time complaining of chest pain and discomfort and he was sure it was nothing, but order some blood tests and an EKG. The EKG did not show ‘alarming’ abnormities. The doctor then received the blood tests results back and advised he couldn’t explain what made him order a blood test checking my troponin levels (he typically only orders this in elderly patients or patients with a history of heart problems), but my initial troponin levels were .8.

Because my troponin levels were high, they admitted me for the night into ICU. Throughout the night they order a troponin level test two more times, the second time yielded a 5 and the third yielded a 13. At this point I still had not been diagnosed with a heart attack or had been seen by a cardiologist. The morning of September 7th, a cardiologist visited me and confirmed I did have a heart attack and the next step was checking for blockages with an angiogram.

This particular hospital could perform the angiogram, but could not perform the procedure to correct any blockages, if there were any. Because they could not perform the procedure, I was transferred to another hospital later that day that could perform both the angiogram and corrective procedures, if needed. I was told my heart attack was most likely stress related and the angiogram would take approximately 30 minutes, as they did not expect to find any blockages.

I was awake during the angiogram and was advised I would not remember anything as the drugs would make me ‘loopy’ and drowsy. I remember everything and watch the entire procedure on the screen, which lasted an hour and half. At this point I did not know they were inserting stents into my front anterior artery, but I knew they had found something. After the procedure, I was told they put three medicated stents into my LAD artery and the bottom of heart had stopped beating due to a tear. That is when I first heard I had experienced SCAD and just how serious everything was.

My heart beat is still abnormal and I can feel it beat ‘more abnormally’ a few times a day. All the cardiologist I have seen, including the one who performed the angiogram and stents, have never had a patient with SCAD before. I feel uneasy about everything, because of the lack of knowledge present about this condition, especially with my doctors.