Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection – I HAD A SCAD?

April 1, 2014

For years, I searched for information on Post-Partum Coronary Artery Dissection. Twenty years ago, on January 4th, 1994, I suffered from a heart attack caused by Post-Partum Coronary Artery Dissection. It was unreal to me. I could not comprehend that I was only 33 years old, healthy– and now I was a heart patient?!

Three months prior I delivered my third baby. I was too busy and didn’t have time to be a heart patient.

Then, I was informed that the type of heart attack I had was “rare.” I was told that most of these cases are found in autopsies. Who? What? Where? When? Why? I had a thousand questions. The only solid information I received from my doctors was that it was caused by hormone changes during pregnancy. I would not have another heart attack as long as I did not get pregnant. Needless to say, I never did get pregnant again.

Eighteen years later, I finally found SCAD or Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection. Not only did I find information, I found survivors! I found out there is research at the Mayo Clinic, I found out that what I believed all these years was not exactly true. Although we survivors are mostly young, healthy women– not all of the cases were caused by pregnancy. Some women were exercising, some were going through menopause, some were taking birth control or hormone therapy treatments, and some were even men! I was floored by this information, especially since I am going through menopause at this time. I thought I would never have to worry about having a heart attack again, ever. I couldn’t get pregnant anymore, therefore, Post-Partum Coronary Artery Dissection days were over for me, done. Learning that this was not the case was difficult.

I wanted to learn everything I could about SCAD. First, I had to get used to calling it SCAD. I feel like I have ADHD from SCAD. I cannot get enough information. And there is plenty of information for me to catch up on! This part makes me feel uncomfortable, and sad to think, that like me, there are many more survivors, who have not yet found this information. Newly diagnosed SCAD patients know more about SCAD than me, this doesn’t quite make sense. I am very happy that these people have this information and support available when diagnosed.

I am now convinced that SCAD is not as rare as I believed, or most cardiologists believed at that time. I cannot explain how I feel. I am trying to learn more, spread awareness, and hopefully raise money for this research. I truly believe this information will help save many lives in the future. I think it already has started saving lives. There are approximately 600 survivors, who found this information. Watching the number of members rapidly growing over the past two years has been totally fascinating. Thanks to social media and SCAD research, answers to many questions will be answered. This makes me happy! My hope is that every cardiologist, emergency room, trauma center, medical school, EMT, etc. around the world, will know what SCAD is, look for it, and know how to treat it.

Thank you and bless your heart!

Learn more about SCAD at

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