Mental health

The psychological impact of SCAD can be huge and patients may experience depression or PTSD after their events. Having quick and easy access to counselling and other support to manage stress and grief can be invaluable to recovery. 



Sam's mental health suffered after her SCAD, but with support she was able to move forward

Professor Lis Neubeck on What we know about recovery from SCAD: Physical and mental health

Cardiac rehab

All patients should be referred to and encouraged to participate in cardiac rehab to aid their recovery. 

Although many SCAD patients are recommended to attend a cardiac rehab programme, fewer SCAD patients attend than the average figure for attendance in the UK. Not enough rehab professionals have knowledge of SCAD and, from what patients tell us, this has an impact on the benefit they get. Some rehab teams do make the effort to learn about SCAD which can have a positive impact on the patients, particularly when they try to tailor the rehab programme for SCAD patients.

However, many patients have told us their rehab focused on prevention of atherosclerotic disease. As SCAD is not caused by atherosclerosis and cannot be predicted or prevented, this can lead to feelings of isolation and frustration among patients. It's important for cardiologists to flag up to rehab professionals when making referrals for cardiac rehab that SCAD patients are not the same as atherosclerosis patients and need a tailored approach, encouraging the rehab team to visit this website for resources.

A paper published in the European Heart Journal (European Society of Cardiology, acute cardiovascular care association, SCAD study group: a position paper on spontaneous coronary artery dissection) recommends moderate aerobic exercise, interval training, resistance training using lower resistance and higher repetitions. Patients are advised to be cautious when doing high-endurance aerobic training, muscle-building exercises or Yoga poses that involve extreme head and neck positions. Avoid abrupt high-intensity exercise, contact sports, extreme head positions and exercises involving the Valsalva manoeuvre. See here for more on exercise after SCAD.

A paper published in June 2021 included suggestions for what physical activity and exercise is recommended and what should be avoided. Dr Adlam also discusses it in this video (starts at 29 minutes).

More research has been carried out in the last few years into the key aspects of physical and mental recovery after SCAD. These and future plans were discussed by Professor Lis Neubeck of Edinburgh Napier at the 2023 Beat SCAD conference.


Please put your patient in touch with Beat SCAD for support. Patients can request a Buddy to help them navigate their post-SCAD journey.

Patients who use Facebook can also get support in the SCAD UK and Ireland Survivors Facebook group.  

Request our leaflets via the Downloads form and you can order printed leaflets, In Case of Emergency cards for your patients and cards for healthcare professionals from our Shop.

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