Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection

SCAD at Work – Misdiagnosed

December 1, 2017

On the early morning of October 3, 2016, I felt chest pains, an upset stomach, and I started to sweat. I was at work and googled signs of a heart attack. I had most of them. I grabbed my things and went to my car (needed to get out of my building since you need a badge to get in) I called my husband and 911. When the EMTs got to me they took an EKG all came back fine! They told me I had three options… I could go to the hospital with them, I could go to the hospital with my husband, or I could go home and relax.

My husband rushed me to the hospital. Once I got there, they did an EKG, blood test, and a chest x-ray. The chest x-ray and EKG came back normal. The results of the blood test were positive for signs of a heart attack (my troponin level was slightly higher than normal) however, “since I am so young and fit” they did not think I was having one. They did say they would treat me like I am though. The doctors put me on nitrates and heparin. Six hours later they repeated the blood test and sent me for a CT angiogram. CT angiogram came back negative, the troponin levels came back slightly higher than the last time. This is when the doctor asks me if I had jaw pain, and I did. I than was immediately rushed to the catheterization laboratory (Cath lab). The doctor placed three bare mental stents in my LAD artery. My LAD artery was 100% blocked. When I woke up he told me I suffered a heart attack. I was diagnosed with Coronary Artery Disease. I was discharged on October 6, 2016.

I continued to have slight chest pains so on March 26th I went back to the ER. They kept me over night and took more blood test with a chest x-ray. They both came back negative again. The next morning, I was sent back to the Cath lab and again my LAD artery was 95% block. This time the doctor placed a medicated stent in and told my husband “he should have use medicated stents the first time”! I was discharged the next morning.

I continued to have chest pains when I went for my follow up appointment. He scheduled me for an outpatient Cath on April 27, 2017. This time my LAD artery was 10% blocked and was told there is nothing to worry about. The pain I was having was not related to my heart.

I continued to have chest pains and on June 12, 2017 I was back in the ER. Chest x-ray, EKG, and blood test were negative again. The next morning, I was sent for an echocardiogram. This was also negative, but since I was still having chest pains I was sent back to the Cath lab. Again, my LAD artery was 90% block. I received 1 more medicated stent. I was released from the hospital the next morning.

I continued to have chest pains so on July 13, 2017 I was schedule for an outpatient Cath. This time I was told my LAD artery was 30% block and was told there is nothing to worry about (my response was that’s what you told me back in April when it was 10% block and I was back in the hospital a month later).

I decided I had enough and made an appointment with the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida on July 27, 2017. I was told I did not have the typical heart attack like I was told by the other doctor. I had what was called SCAD (Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection). This was also confirmed from a specialist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. I was told I should have had a bypass instead of having three bare metal stents. I was also told that during my first Cath the doctor tore my artery even more!  I developed restenosis as a result of the stents being used.

I am finally starting to feel better, I am back in cardiac rehab and was told they will be having me run again before I complete my sessions! This means a lot to me as I ran 10 miles every day before this all happened to me.