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Andrea was 44 when she had a SCAD heart attack. She was fit and healthy with no cardiac risk factors.
“For me, the scariest thing is that the doctors don’t seem to know anything about SCAD and are very quick to give the diagnosis of anxiety and panic attack, which I never had before SCAD.”
Charlotte’s first SCAD heart attack happened at her son’s nursery and she had to have a heart bypass. Five years later she had a second SCAD.
“The cardiac specialist nurses told me they didn’t think it would turn out to be anything to do with my heart. I just didn’t fit the profile of the typical heart patient.”
Cheryl had a SCAD exactly a year ago as she was having dinner with her husband and friends.She said: “Feeling fragile and vulnerable, I had lost every confidence in my body and I grieved for the person I used to be. I was lucky to be alive but I was scared to live.”
Jenny was extremely fit, doing a 50-mile bike ride at weekends and entering triathalons, but when she had cardiac symptoms her doctors refused to consider SCAD.
“The relief that I felt when I finally got my diagnosis was phenomenal. And to think that I had been sent to psychiatry because I wouldn’t accept their previous diagnosis.”
The day after falling during a walk in the Lake District and dislocating her elbow, Margaret had a SCAD.
“The level of care at Blackpool was excellent and given with such kindness. They explained that so little was understood about SCAD. Dr Wood (SCAD researcher) emailed me while I was still at Blackpool and that started my journey of learning how to live with a rare disease.”
Rachel collapsed at home and had a cardiac arrest three weeks after her baby was born. Her heart did not beat on its own again for more than 80 minutes and, as a result, she suffered brain damage.
“No-one is sure if my short-term memory will come back but I am being taught to put strategies in place to help me and to eventually be able to look after my beautiful daughter.”
Robyn was 27 when she had her SCAD two weeks after her third baby was born. Her family was told to prepare for the worst after she had a cardiac arrest.
Northampton emergency medicine consultant Dr Tom Odbert said: “Robyn was extremely lucky to be in hospital when she collapsed where she had immediate, aggressive and persistent resuscitation.”
Tracey was 38 when she had a SCAD heart attack and cardiac arrest. She then contracted a virus which damaged her heart further. She has now had a heart transplant and has been given a new lease of life.
“The quicker SCAD is diagnosed in a patient the easier and less invasive the treatment could be.”
Victoria had a SCAD eight weeks after her second child had been born.
“I felt like a tiny child, utterly lost and alone in this clinical corridor. I cried then, not for me, but for my children, my tiny baby who I’d left at home, my deliciously funny little three-year-old girl who was just beginning to make her mark on the world. Then I quickly felt absolutely furious, how dare this happen to me, why now?!”