Since moving from the Leicester research team to a Consultant’s post at the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, Dr Abi Al-Hussaini has been busy spreading the word about SCAD.

She has set up a Friday afternoon clinic to see SCAD patients, with the aim of getting all required imaging, MRI and CT, done on the day of their appointment if needed.

Dr Abi (pictured above at the Beat SCAD conference 2016) said: “This is almost like a one-stop shop and I would see the patient after their test(s) and advise on future management. Referrals can come via GP, clinicians, consultants, rehab nurses etc.”

If patients consent to research, Dr Abi will send all the data and imaging she collects to the SCAD registry at Glenfield Hospital for research study.

Rebecca Breslin, Chair and co-founder of Beat SCAD, said: “Dr Abi’s SCAD Clinic in London is fantastic news for the SCAD community. Leicester, though central, can be difficult for some patients to get to, so a second location for seeking specialist consultation is a wonderful step forward in improving services for SCAD patients throughout the country. And the link back to Leicester for the research study is perfect.”

Pregnancy after SCAD

Dr Abi has also been working with the High-risk Pregnancy Clinic, which includes another cardiologist and obstetricians. They have some experience of SCAD and pregnancy post-SCAD and how to support and deliver babies.

They have agreed to set up the following:

  1. A pre-conception clinic (run by obstetrician consultant, Dr Roshni Patel and Dr Abi), where patients considering a future pregnancy can have their questions answered and get advice. The clinic can also advise on contraception and other issues related to SCAD.

“This service currently runs for other cardiac and obstetric issues and we would aim to have an additional clinic for SCAD,” said Dr Abi.

  1. A high-risk pregnancy clinic, including Dr Patel, Dr Abi, Prof Johnson and Lorna Swan. This will be mainly for women who are already pregnant and will need a plan of care to be drawn up for them.  There is the capacity to have a one-off referral, or plan to deliver the baby at Chelsea. There will be access to the specialist midwife who will closely liaise with relevant teams as needed.

Karen Rockell, Beat SCAD Secretary and Trustee, said: “We are working hard to educate maternity services about pregnancy-related SCAD to ensure symptoms are not dismissed and patients are diagnosed early. This initiative is a fantastic step forward that will raise awareness further and increase knowledge within the cardiac, midwifery and obstetrics specialities.”

Rebecca said: “I have seen numerous women in our patient group despair at being told by their doctor that pregnancy after SCAD is an absolute no-no… without true facts or statistics to back up such adamant advice. Some of the women already had one or more children but always planned more, whereas others were yet to begin their families and felt that SCAD had robbed them of the opportunity. However, some of those women and their partners bravely chose to stick to their plans and desire to pursue pregnancy and most have thankfully had no problems or recurrence. Plus they have now started to contribute to facts and statistics to help others.

“The pre-conception and high-risk pregnancy clinics established by Dr Abi will be an important resource for members of the SCAD community faced with the post-SCAD baby dilemma. Huge thanks to Dr Abi and her colleagues for putting this in place to meet the needs of many SCAD patients.”