Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection

Too young to have a heart attack!

September 1, 2016

Hi all. With all the talk of SCAD’s rarity, it is nice to read the other stories. Only fair that I share mine. On June 8, 2016 I  sat at my desk at work, having just vented to a coworker about my current stress. I was getting ready to get to work when I felt a soreness in my right arm, like a muscle ache. I tried to rub it out, stretch it out but it wouldn’t go away and was quite painful. After about 5-10 minutes I could nearly trace the pain moving into my neck, jaw and chest. I started to feel lightheaded and flushed. I’ve seen and heard enough that arm pain mixed with chest pain, may be something isnt right. Honestly, I wasn’t too worried. I am 33, healthy and no family history of heart disease.

Off I went to the ER, drove myself. By the time I was seen by a doctor, my pain was over. About 30 minutes start to finish. Initial ECG was fine, 5 hours later we got blood results back that showed increased troponin. The nurse didn’t believe it. Apologized, said that errors in the lab sometimes happen and took my blood again. An hour later, same results. What followed was the scariest 2 days of my life. Nurses in a panic to get an iv in, husband is working an 8 hour drive away and I need to pick up my 4 year old from daycare! Wild. I was admitted, pumped full of drugs I didn’t understand and flown to the nearest city Center 2 days later for an angiogram (one of the worst experiences I’ve ever had), which confirmed I had a SCAD episode. I was medi-vacced back to my rural hospital after signing up for a research study and released later that day.

On follow up, my family doctor (who admittedly knows nothing about SCAD) prescribed aspirin. Aside from the requested referral to a dietician (being overweight isn’t a contributing cause but I can’t see it helping), I’ve been given no advice or information. The cardiac nurse that follows up with me for study purposes has given me some, as vague and empty as it is. I have an appointment to request at least an internist, if not a cardiologist follow up.

Does anyone else feel like they’ve been dropped on their emotional head? I can’t focus at work and am quite frankly, sad. I suppose the family doctor did offer me anti depressants, which I politely declined. I’ve started seeing a therapist but jeez. I don’t think I realized the finality of the diagnosis until I was declined life insurance yesterday. That really hit me. I am married and have 4 daughters, ages 4 to 15.

Anyway, cheers to not being alone.