Design a Christmas card for Beat SCAD!

Design a Christmas card for Beat SCAD!

We are very excited to launch our Christmas card competition!

The competition is to design a card that will be printed and sold in our shop to raise money for Beat SCAD. The design will also be made into an ecard that will be available on Don’t Send Me a Card.

So why not get creative with the kids over the holidays?

There will be up to four winners in two categories.

  • Children up to the age of 14.
  • Adults and children over 15 – SCAD patients, families, friends and anyone else who would like to support our charity.

Your designs can be a photo, hand drawn or computer generated and can be in colour or black and white and must be in two dimensions. We’d like the designs to be festive and you are welcome to include references to spontaneous coronary artery dissection and/or hearts.

Click here to download more information and templates. And click here to download the entry form..This is a Word form, but if you have problems downloading this, please download the pdf form, write in your details, then scan or take a photo of the completed form and return to us.

The winners of the Children’s Competition will receive Hobbycraft vouchers to the value of £30 plus two free packs of cards printed with their design.

The winners of the Over-15s and Adults’ Competition, in addition to seeing their design on the front of the Christmas cards, will receive one item of their choice of Beat SCAD clothing and two free packs of cards printed with their design.

All proceeds from the sale of the Christmas cards go to Beat SCAD.

Closing date: 11 September 2018


Photo credit: Bruce Mars from Pexels

The Christmas card design competition is being organised by Beat SCAD.

Entrants agree to abide by the following terms and conditions:

  • The competition is free to enter and is open to anyone.
  • Designs should be suitable for an A6 size card, portrait or landscape or a square 132 x 132mm card.
  • Entries must be digital images submitted as high resolution JPEGs or hard copy 2D designs or drawings.
  • The closing date for submissions is midnight on 11 September 2018.
  • Winners will be announced before the end of September 2018.
  • The copyright of the entire image used in the design must belong to the entrant.
  • Entrants will retain copyright in the designs they submit. By entering the competition, all entrants grant to Beat SCAD the right to publish their design(s) on Christmas cards (physical and e-cards) and to use the image(s) on our website, social media and other publicity materials.
  • Judges appointed by Beat SCAD will choose the winners. Beat SCAD’s decision on all matters relating to the competition is final, and no correspondence will be entered into concerning the competition’s judging and organisation.
  • Beat SCAD reserves the right to cancel this competition or alter the rules at any stage, if deemed necessary in its opinion, and if circumstances arise outside of its control.
  • Any breach of these terms by an entrant will void their entry.
  • Parental consent must be given for entries from children (under 18) as well as for publicity.
  • The winning entries and names will be displayed on Beat SCAD’s website, social media pages and released to media. Please confirm you are happy for your name to be released to the press by ticking the appropriate box on the entry form.
  • Children who win will receive a £30 voucher and two packs of cards featuring their design.
  • Adult and over-15 winners will receive one item of Beat SCAD clothing. They can choose the size and colour of their choice. They will also receive two packs of cards featuring their design.


One Community cyclists raise more than £21K for Beat SCAD

One Community cyclists raise more than £21K for Beat SCAD

A team of 30 cyclists and their support team have raised a fantastic £21,408.75 for Beat SCAD during a very challenging cycle ride from Barcelona to Beziers.

The One Community group encompasses companies from across the M25 community, including Connect Plus, Connect Plus Services, Highways England, Equitix, Osborne, Jackson Framworks Ltd, Aconex, R&W, Aggregate Industries, DGA, Atkins, AECOM and Vines Group. Their annual cycle ride takes different routes each year and raises money for charities and this year Beat SCAD was honoured to be chosen.

Beat SCAD is a cause very close to one team member’s heart. John Worsfold, who drove one of the support vehicles during the three-day challenge, has seen his wife, Danielle, suffer two SCADs.

The 289-mile route across the Pyrenees Mountains was the longest and hardest route the cyclists have attempted. Cyclists climbed 18,152 feet, including a marathon 10,203 feet on day 1. The first support van covered 2,369 miles at an average 41mph and the second support van did 2,130 miles – and used eight tanks of fuel!

Beat SCAD Trustees Rebecca Breslin, Karen Rockell, Sarah Coombes and Debbie Oliver, together with volunteer Jacqui Hughes and Danielle Worsfold, were invited to Connect Plus’ headquarters in South Mimms on 12 June to be presented with a cheque for the funds raised.

We were treated to a great video showing footage from the ride – those hills were very steep! We also met some of the cyclists and heard stories from the trip, including tales of frozen fingers, broken rules and sore muscles!

In thanking everyone who took part, we were able to tell them that their fundraising has made a massive difference and enabled Beat SCAD to double our planned donation of £25,000 to the research project at Leicester University/Glenfield Hospital, to £50,000!

Rebecca said: “We are blown away by this incredible fundraising team. It was a privilege to have the opportunity to meet members of the One Community group, hear about their experience and thank them in person. Watching their video gave an even greater appreciation of what they went through during this amazing achievement. I cannot thank John and Danielle enough for bringing this opportunity to Beat SCAD. The charity absolutely relies on SCAD community members to support our work and this opportunity enabled us to double our latest research donation which means research fellow, Dr Alice Wood (Cardiovascular Research Centre at Glenfield Hospital, Leicester), can continue her important work looking into some of the subgroups, including recurrent SCAD cases like Danielle.”

Jamie Wood from Connect Plus, said: “Raising money for Beat SCAD has been rather special – particularly when we found out that we’ve doubled their fundraising for the year. From speaking to the Beat SCAD volunteers, it is clearly a charity with so much passion, drive and personality. It sounds as though much progress has been made towards increasing the research, awareness and support for SCAD in recent years – long may that continue. It makes all the miles on the bike worthwhile!”




Third Beat SCAD conference scores hat trick of personal bests

Third Beat SCAD conference scores hat trick of personal bests

The third Beat SCAD conference was held on Saturday 9th June at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham, where the charity proudly celebrated a hat trick of ‘personal bests’:

1) Increasing the total number of delegates attending (116 vs 110 in 2016 and 88 in 2015), including healthcare professionals from cardiac rehabilitation services.

2) Increasing the number of SCAD survivors together in one place (68 vs 61 in 2016 and 49 in 2015), including five male survivors.

3) Doubling the amount of money previously donated to the research project.

Rebecca Breslin, Trustee Chair, kicked off the day by launching the charity’s new short film Together we will beat SCAD. This was followed by a summary of important milestones achieved since the last conference in November 2016, including publication of the second annual report, updated leaflets and growth of the trustee board.

Rebecca said: ‘Almost half of the SCAD patients attending this year experienced their events in 2017 or 2018, after our last conference. Launching the film at the conference was a perfect time to share the background of how Beat SCAD began, the work the charity is doing and some of the achievements of our amazing group, as well as let the wider community know how they can help Beat SCAD to fulfil our mission to raise awareness, provide support and fund research.’

During the opening presentation, Rebecca thanked the many amazing fundraisers who have completed a variety of challenges, and their supporters who have all contributed to the charity’s next research donation: an incredible £50,000.

Rebecca said: ‘After Beat SCAD’s first research donation of £25,000 in July last year, the charity set about raising the next £25,000 and the trustees agreed to present this amount at the conference. But then there was a flurry of fundraising activity surrounding challenges taking place in May, which meant we could double our donation. The One Community cycle challenge, in particular, enabled us to double our donation. It was an honour to announce the £50,000 donation at the conference and it really is a credit to the dedication and support of our amazing SCAD community.’

Dr David Adlam, Senior Lecturer, Department of Cardiovascular Sciences, University of Leicester, Cardiovascular Research Centre at Glenfield General Hospital, who is leading the research said: ‘This is a brilliant boost – well done and a massive thank you to all. The £50K will be used to continue to support the salary and PhD work of our Clinical Research Fellow, Dr Alice Wood.’

The day continued with a packed agenda of research-focused talks by Dr David Adlam and Dr Alice Wood (SCAD Research Fellow) from Glenfield Hospital, Leicester and Dr Abi Al-Hussaini, Consultant Cardiologist, Chelsea & Westminster Hospital, London.

Dr Adlam delivered a fascinating first talk with his usual charisma and humour, whilst always aiming to explain complex medical content in less complex terms, so it was relatable by all delegates (not an easy task, SCAD is complicated!) As research progresses and theories evolve, the ‘SCAD 101’ content is adjusting accordingly. This time, delegates heard more about the two mechanisms described in the European Position Paper: ‘inside-out’ (is SCAD a tear?) and ‘outside-in’ (is SCAD a disrupted micro-vessel?).

In his second talk, Dr Adlam updated delegates on the advancement of international collaborations including:

  • The increasing partnership between SCAD and Fibromuscular Dysplasia (FMD) research to investigate the association between these two overlapping non-atherosclerotic arteriopathies (arteriopathy = disease of the arteries);
  • An imaging study to explore the use of Computed Tomography (CT), an x-ray method, in SCAD diagnosis and follow-up;
  • A vascular ultrasound study being conducted primarily in Italy (which UK SCAD patients have participated in) investigating vascular structure to identify any evidence of abnormalities that could be connected to SCAD;
  • A pregnancy SCAD (P-SCAD) study being conducted at Stanford University, USA which UK patients are participating in via Dr Adlam by completing questionnaires;
  • Laboratory studies looking at fibroblasts (the most common cells found in connective tissue);
  • Plus the emerging genetics work involving the commencement of a GWAS (genome wide association study), which a Beat SCAD donation is helping to fund.

The heritability of SCAD is one of the key questions arising from SCAD patients, with many concerned that their children or other family members could be at risk. Dr Adlam delved a little deeper into this topic and said that most cases of SCAD appear to be sporadic and, while a few familial cases (eg siblings; mother-daughter) are documented, they are rare (<5% of total cases) and do not currently imply a strong heritability of SCAD.

Dr Adlam closed his talk with a summary of his research strategy, plans for further awareness raising, thanks to all involved and an appeal to the SCAD community to continue their amazing support of the research.

Researching sub-groups

Dr Wood introduced the audience to the PhD work she is embarking on to investigate some of the subgroups, including male SCAD patients and recurrent cases, as well as exploring the role of female hormones in peri- and post-partum cases, and why some patients continue to experience post-SCAD chest pain.

Dr Alice Wood

Dr Alice Wood

Dr Wood described how the research protocol is evolving to look into patient reported aspects such as intense psychological or physical stress preceding their SCAD and implications regarding coronary spasm, as well as the concept of SCAD being a vulnerability of the artery in combination with some sort of ‘trigger’.


Dr Al-Hussaini’s first presentation focused on the growing association of SCAD and Fibromuscular Dysplasia (FMD), describing what FMD is and how it is diagnosed and managed. Dr Al-Hussaini discussed the SCAD and FMD clinic she has established at Chelsea & Westminster since her move from Leicester last year. The afternoon talk covered pregnancy-related SCAD events and again included information about Dr Al-Hussaini’s specialist clinic comprising a multidisciplinary team aimed at helping SCAD patients make an informed decision about pregnancy after SCAD and offering health review and support pre-conception and during pregnancy.

Dr Abi Al-Hussaini

Dr Abi Al-Hussaini

At the end of both morning and afternoon sessions the three SCAD specialists took questions from the audience and from those unable to attend the conference, who had sent questions in advance.

Patient perspective

Sally Bee, Motivational Speaker in Health and Wellbeing, ITV healthy cook, best-selling author of six healthy cookbooks and two-time SCAD Survivor, delivered an inspiring talk about her SCAD experience and shared important pearls of wisdom about recovering from SCAD, including understanding the grief process, listening to your body, being your own advocate and coping if SCAD strikes again.

Sally Bee at conference

Sally Bee

Trustee and conference organiser, Sarah Coombes said: ‘Sally is a natural story teller with a great story to share. I spoke to some of our delegates after her talk and all said it really resonated with them.‘

Delegates enjoyed networking time in the refreshment breaks and over a long lunch. Many of the SCAD community have become great friends via social media and, for some, the conference was the first opportunity to meet in person.

Healthcare professionals

The trustees were pleased to welcome a number of healthcare professionals as delegates this year. Cardiac rehabilitation nurses attended from Blackpool and Sandwell & West Birmingham, who enjoyed the opportunity to hear research updates and speak with patients about their experiences.

Rebecca said: ‘It’s fantastic that we are starting to welcome more healthcare professionals to our conference. Drs Adlam and Al-Hussaini already do a great deal to raise awareness when attending cardiology conferences. But the Beat SCAD conference adds another level to the experience, because doctors, nurses, paramedics etc. attending will benefit from meeting patients and hearing exactly what we have all been through and how we are trying to change the misconception of what a heart attack patient looks like, so that SCAD is never missed in the future.’

Community spirit

Some delegates joined the Beat SCAD trustees and Dr Adlam at an evening meal after the conference, giving them a further opportunity to network and learn more about SCAD.

On the Sunday, some delegates and their families made the most of a lovely sunny day and joined 1km and 5km guided walks around the University of Birmingham campus. The walk was organised by SCAD survivor Colette Soan and some of her colleagues, who also provided some very welcome tea and cakes after the walk.

Conference delegates on 5K walk

Conference delegates on 5K walk

Rebecca said: ‘Thank you to everybody involved in the conference, meal and walk this year – it was a fantastic weekend and I think each Beat SCAD conference gets better and better. The SCAD community is amazing, especially my fellow trustees who volunteer so much time and effort to keep pushing forward with our charity mission.’


All presentations were filmed, footage is being edited and will be shared as soon as possible. In the meantime, take a look at the photo gallery below, highlights video and the slide decks. And don’t forget to take a few minutes to watch and share Together we will beat SCAD.

Beat SCAD raises awareness with midwife educators

Beat SCAD raises awareness with midwife educators

Beat SCAD recently had the opportunity to raise awareness of SCAD in pregnancy (P-SCAD) with medical staff who teach midwives.

Dr Abtehale Al-Hussaini (Dr Abi), Consultant Cardiologist at the Chelsea & Westminster Hospital and Beat SCAD volunteers Sarah Coombes and Victoria Warnes-Elgie presented to a group of 40 Lead Midwives for Education (LMEs) at King’s College in London.

Dr Abi discussed some of the latest research findings about SCAD and its possible causes as well as symptoms of P-SCAD. She provided information for the educators to give to their students about best practice in diagnosing and managing the condition.

Dr Abi, worked on the SCAD research project in Leicester and has recently set up a SCAD pregnancy and post-SCAD pregnancy clinic at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London to help and advise P-SCAD patients. Although pregnancy after having a SCAD is considered high risk, the P-SCAD clinic has managed seven post-SCAD pregnancies and deliveries so far – each resulting in a safe delivery for mother and baby.

Sarah told her SCAD story and talked about how SCAD patients don’t conform to the stereotypical view of heart attack patients. She urged the audience to consider SCAD if their pregnant ladies display cardiac symptoms and to ensure the necessary diagnostic blood tests are carried out as soon as possible. Many SCAD survivors have not been diagnosed quickly, often being told they are ‘anxious’, and as a result have suffered major heart damage (see our P-SCAD case studies). Sarah also explained the work Beat SCAD does to increase awareness of the condition, support survivors and raise money to fund research.

SCAD survivor Victoria had a SCAD in April 2017 and told her story to the midwife educators.

“It was fantastic to have the opportunity to engage with the country’s lead midwife educators. I was able to describe the very subtle symptoms that I experienced, and discuss other survivor stories, which will hopefully now empower midwives to interrogate any kind of chest pain further, speeding up the diagnosis of SCAD, preventing long-term heart damage and potentially even saving lives,” said Victoria.

The presentation was very well received and the audience really appreciated hearing directly from SCAD patients and to know there is now a P-SCAD clinic they can refer patients to. The LMEs will now be able to disseminate information about P-SCAD to their students, raising awareness of SCAD across the country.

Many thanks to the LMEs for inviting us to talk at their event.

30 cyclists take on tough Pyrenees route to raise money for Beat SCAD

30 cyclists take on tough Pyrenees route to raise money for Beat SCAD

30 intrepid cyclists are embarking on an incredibly hard 300-mile ride from Barcelona to Béziers across the Pyrenees on 4-6 May to raise money for Beat SCAD.

The 2018 One Community Charity Cycle ride includes representatives from across the M25 community, including Highways England, Connect Plus, Connect Plus Services.

The cyclists are training hard for this mountainous route where they will be climbing more than 20,000 feet in the first two days, including riding through the Col de Pailhères, a 20km pass averaging a 7% gradient.

Rebecca Breslin, Trustee Chair of Beat SCAD, said: “Good luck to all the cyclists taking on this enormous challenge and many thanks for supporting Beat SCAD.”

Beat SCAD and SCAD patients are very pleased and excited that the charity was chosen and we look forward to hearing about the progress of the cyclists along the route!

To donate please click here. 

SCAD Position Paper published by European Society of Cardiology

SCAD Position Paper published by European Society of Cardiology

A major milestone for the SCAD community was reached on 22 February with the publication of the first Position Paper on SCAD by the European Society of Cardiology, acute cardiovascular care association (ESC-ACCA), SCAD study group.

The Position Paper is aimed at practising clinicians caring for patients with SCAD and contains the current knowledge consensus regarding the definition of SCAD; risk factors and associations, such as hormones, Fibromuscular Dysplasia (FMD), exercise and connective tissue disorders; symptoms experienced at the time of SCAD and, for some, after; diagnostic techniques; treatment options; prognosis and aftercare recommendations. Key messages include:

  • SCAD is a frequent cause of acute coronary syndrome (ACS) in young to middle-aged women and patients with heart attack in pregnancy or post-partum.
  • Pregnancy-associated SCAD accounts for a minority of cases.
  • The causes of SCAD are unknown but there are indicators that female sex hormones have a role, as do conditions such as Fibromuscular Dysplasia (FMD).
  • There is no strong indicator that SCAD is an inherited condition.
  • Delayed diagnosis is common because SCAD patients usually fall into the lowest risk groups for ACS based on traditional risk scores.

In terms of managing SCAD, the Paper says:

  • There is increased risk of complications and adverse outcomes, compared to atherosclerotic heart disease, of repeated angiograms and stent placement (revascularisation).
  • Conservatively managed SCADs usually heal completely over a few months.
  • Further research is needed to establish the best medical treatment strategy, which may be different to the treatment for atherosclerotic heart disease.
  • The prognosis following SCAD appears good but recurrent SCAD is well recognised.
  • Recurrent chest pain after SCAD is common.

The Paper references studies indicating that male SCAD patients may be slightly younger and have a higher incidence of mechanical triggers in terms of preceding isometric or extreme exercise.

For patients wanting to become pregnant after having a SCAD, the Paper recommends it be managed by a multidisciplinary team, and says there is limited data on the risk of pregnancy in SCAD patients, but it should be considered high risk.

The Paper recommends SCAD patients should do cardiac rehabilitation and return to exercise, but avoid extreme or isometric exercise.

The writers also say that patients with SCAD may be particularly at risk of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). They suggest that counselling, cognitive behavioural therapy, stress-reducing therapies or medical treatment for anxiety or depression may be appropriate in some cases.

Rebecca Breslin, Chair Trustee of Beat SCAD, said: “The release of this eagerly awaited Position Paper is a hugely significant step in the understanding of SCAD. This isn’t formal guidelines that make their way into the NHS and general practice, but it is certainly progress towards that goal and we now have consolidated scientific statements from numerous esteemed medics about SCAD at this moment in time.”

Rebecca continued: “The paper may be aimed at medics but there is much content of great value to patients too, including rationale for and against certain medications, plus some reassurances that ongoing chest pain after SCAD does happen and it is common among the patient group, as well as the genuine concern about suffering another event: recurrence does happen for some. This should be a wake-up call to the many doctors who have told their patients that their SCAD was a ‘one-off, freak event that won’t happen again’. The odds of not having a recurrence are certainly greater and keeping a positive outlook goes a long way but this truly emphasises the urgent need for more research to ensure optimum treatment and follow-up care strategies are defined.”

Dr Adlam, who is leading the UK SCAD research project in Leicester, chairs the ESC-ACCA SCAD study group, whose members include cardiologists from across Europe. The Position Paper writing committee included Dr Abtehale Al-Hussaini, who worked on the Leicester research project with Dr Adlam and is now leading a SCAD clinic in London.

The American Heart Association published their equivalent paper, a Scientific Statement, at the same time and Dr Adlam was a member of the writing committee that was chaired by Dr Sharonne Hayes of the Mayo Clinic and co-chaired by Dr Esther Kim of Vanderbilt Heart and Vascular Institute and Dr Jacqueline Saw of Vancouver General Hospital.

Dr David Adlam said: “The Position Paper is an important document for doctors and for the recognition of SCAD because currently neither the European nor American guidelines for heart attacks mention SCAD but, as we are learning, the considerations for managing SCAD differ from atherosclerotic heart attacks. It is also important for this paper to reach other medical disciplines such as Obstetricians because, ultimately, we need SCAD to be mentioned within their guidelines. The paper gives us a starting point and as more data comes out we will then update the paper over the course of time.”

Beat SCAD strongly encourages all SCAD patients to take a copy of this document to the doctors involved in their care to ensure the most up-to-date information is considered in the management of their condition. Ask your doctors to share with their colleagues and help to raise awareness.

For more information about the Leicester research, click here.