SCAD is caused by a sudden tear or split in the coronary artery wall, which results in blood filling within the tear and blocking blood flow in the artery.

Medical Illustration for Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection (SCAD)

Interesting facts about SCAD: 

  • #1 cause of heart attacks in women under 50 years of age
  • Can occur in both men and women
  • #1 cause of pregnancy-related heart attacks
  • Most individuals with SCAD are young, healthy, and active with no family history of heart disease

Medical conditions and situations which increase the risk of SCAD:

  • Abnormalities of the blood vessels such as fibromuscular dysplasia (FMD)
  • Inherited connective tissue diseases such as Ehlers-Danlos syndrome or Marfan’s syndrome
  • Severe high blood pressure
  • Extreme physical exercise
  • Severe emotional stress 

References

News

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Surviving SCAD: Rare Heart Condition Leads Dana to Saint Luke’s
After having a SCAD heart attack, Dana Garrison found a cardiologist at Saint Luke's, who specializes in the condition, and joined a study to help further the understanding of it.
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KSHB: SCAD: The Top Cause of Heart Attacks in Young Women
SCAD is the number one cause of heart attacks in young women under the age of 50. KSHB talked Dr. Anna Grodzinsky about how it differs from a traditional heart attack.