Skip to content


    Attention All WebMD Community Members:

    These message boards are closed to posting. Please head on over to our new WebMD Message Boards to check out and participate in the great conversations taking place:

    Your new WebMD Message Boards are now open!

    Making the move is as easy as 1-2-3.

    1. Head over to this page:

    2. Choose the tag from the drop-down menu that clicks most with you (and add it to any posts you create so others can easily find and sort through posts)

    3. Start posting

    Have questions? Email us anytime at

    Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection
    An_246564 posted:
    I had an accute SCAD MI in 2007. I received 5 stents at that time. I have received 7 more stents since that time due to scar tissue. I have lost almost half of the lower portion of my heart. I do exercise to strengthen my body/heart. But people with Scad, young and old.. need to be made aware of this problem.

    I would like to make you aware, and your readers.. Mayo in Rochester, MN is now doing research on SCAD events. Dr Sharron Hayes is heading the research. This has been called rare, and as more and more women are being found, they are finding its not near as rare as once thought. We are learning we are not alone. We have good cholesteral numbers, so many of us never smoked, but are having heart attacks or by-pass surgeries at young ages.

    This topic is found under Men's health problems. More and more women are having heart attacks every day. 70-80% of the SCAD patients are women. WebMD should have an area for women to get information on SCAD so they don't feel so alone.

    Thank you for reading this
    Haylen_WebMD_Staff responded:
    Hi there and welcome!

    Thank you for sharing your story and letting the community know about SCAD and the research being conducted.

    I'll pass along your recommendation about information on SCAD for women.

    Best to you and your heart!

    Haylen_WebMD_Staff responded:
    p.s. Can you share what exercises you are doing for your body/heart? Others might benefit from your experience!
    An_246564 replied to Haylen_WebMD_Staff's response:
    Weight bearing are fantastic for all women. just little one or two pound weights are enough. Curls, to the chest and out to form an L alternating arms. I also walk every day even though I am told to take a day of rest. Before my Heart Attack, I walked at work ( part of my job) withOUT getting my heart rate up and ssustained which is what we are told helps the heart.. and According to all my heart MD's. My coronary arteries are "huge, and wide open like fire hoses" They said my MI SCAD event would have happened years before ( blood clots form to fix the SCAD) but my coronary arteries are so large for a woman. I ride a bike I got free off a Freecycle web site (available for most larger towns or cities) I also just do simple stretching daily. I am 54 yr old with Fibromyalgia and still working. I was told I would never return to work, my MI was so massive. SCAD events are devastating as the average age is 42, but range from 20 up to 60 years old. I was 48 when I had mine.

    I try to eat right, 80/20. Eat right 80% of the time, then the 20% you don't doesn't really hurt. I eat a lot of salmon, and tuna. There are a lot of receipes on the internet help with that, giving your a wide variety of tastes and flavors. Low cal, low fat foods help but you do need to watch the sodium. If they cut the fat, they tend to raise the sodium so sometimes low fat is not the better option. My snacks are fresh fruits, and carrots, celery, and cauliflower. Those are just my favorite veggies. I also like fresh yellow neck squash and radishes. I try to grow all of these each summer. Its not large enough to can any, but we have fresh no pesticide veggies. I can't garden that large of a piece of land. But it keeps me busy and gives me fresh veggies all summer.

    I have a diabetic husband so cooking for him, has helped a lot for the heart diet. His A1C is 6 and both our cholesteral numbers are great. My bad cholesteral number is lower then my good Cholesteral number. I never keep the LDL/HDL straight. My good is 67 my bad is 62 and my trig tend to be higher because I love my carbs (Breads) Total cholesteral is 151 my Husbands total is 149. So we are doing something right.
    cardiostarusa1 responded:

    Thanks for posting about this condition. My wife and I have always read with great interest stories/medial/clinical reports about SCAD, especially since she had been planning on becoming a pediatric cardiologist and then a cardiothoracic surgeon.

    We seldom see posts about SCAD here, and several posts a year come up on aortic dissection, the condition that tragically lead to the death of John Ritter. He specifically had a thoracic aortic dissection.

    Here's one the more recent articles that I've read -

    Heart condition that puts young women at greater risk sometimes overlooked

    Ninety-one percent of adults with spontaneous coronary artery dissection reported chest pain, and nearly half had a heart attack.

    July 27, 2012

    Women appear to have a greater risk of developing the condition than do men......

    An estimated 800 new cases of spontaneous coronary artery dissection occur in the U.S. each year, the study said. But many other cases go undiagnosed, in part, due to the difficulty of identifying the problem on an angiogram......

    And going back aways, here's interestin' reading material circa 3/22/03, with nuclear diagnostic images, that I posted 5 years ago.

    Diagnosis: Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection

    Overall, prognosis is poor, with 70% of the patients diagnosed at necroscopy and 30% at angiography.

    27-year-old woman with chest pain.

    Bried History

    Full History

    Pertinent excerpt

    Women mostly have spontaneous coronary artery dissection in the left anterior descending artery and the left main coronary artery, while men usually have isolated right coronary artery involvement.


    As reported, SCAD, a tear or rip in the artery wall (which sometimes can be seen as a straight flap or spiral on X-ray angiography, interfering with blood flow, and can lead to a blood clot formation), carries a high mortality, with the diagnosis of the majority of cases being made post-mortem.

    SCAD can present in a myriad of ways and can mimic more common clinical scenarios (symptoms can include that of coronary artery disease, e.g., chest pain, difficulty breathing, irregular heartbeat, other). Undiagnosed or misdiagnosed, it can be fatal.

    Best of luck to you and your husband down the road of life.

    Take good care,


    WebMD member (since 8/99)



    Coronary artery anatomy

    Starting with the left anterior descending (LAD), the most critical, next to the ultra-critical left main (LM).
    An_246564 replied to cardiostarusa1's response:
    Thank you, those articles are very good. Mine was in the right coronary artery, which the first article states is usually the male site of SCAD. Oh well guess my body doesn't know what it is. LOL. I knew John Ritters was a different type, but they used his as an example to me, to help me understand what happened to me. Medically I realize they are very different. I found it quite interesting that reaccurance could happen up to 12 years later. I will be 6 years out in Jan 2013. I know my husband hovers over me like I was 80 . Silly man. Thank you for your response and added information.
    cardiostarusa1 replied to An_246564's response:
    You're welcome.

    Take extra-good care,


    Helpful Tips

    Heart by pass
    Hi, just wanted to tell you I had triple heart bypass and entered a cardiac rehab program with exercises three times a week,heart ... More
    Was this Helpful?
    1 of 1 found this helpful

    Expert Blog

    The Heart Beat - James Beckerman, MD, FACC

    Dr. James Beckerman shares how small, livable lifestyle changes can have a real impact on your risk of heart attack and stroke...Read More

    Related Drug Reviews

    • Drug Name User Reviews

    Report Problems With Your Medications to the FDA

    FDAYou are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

    For more information, visit the Duke Health General and Consultative Heart Care Center