Spontaneous coronary artery dissection, known as SCAD, is an emergency condition from a tear in an artery wall in the heart. University of Arizona Sarver Heart Center Assistant Professor of Medicine Michel Corban, MD studied SCAD at the Mayo Clinic and told KOLD News 13 reporter Shaley Sanders the condition can slow or block blood flow to the heart, causing a heart attack, heart rhythm problems or sudden death.
Dr. Corban sat down with Sanders for an interview on SCAD after her friend, Rachel Lopez, experienced a heart attack on January 1, 2022.
“Four percent of all heart attacks are related to SCAD and in particular, up to 35 percent of heart attacks in women less than 50 years of age are related to SCAD,” Corban said.
“It affects young women, which seem to be healthy, which seem to have no other medical problems going on.”
Sanders reports doctors diagnosed Lopez with SCAD, determining it caused her heart attack.
“A prompt and accurate diagnosis of SCAD can save your life,” Corban said.
Corban said triggers can include uncontrolled blood pressure, genetics, intense emotional or physical stress, and pregnancy. He said if you had SCAD once, the re-occurrence rate is high.
If someone has chest pain that is radiating to their neck, back, jaw or arms, Corban said they need to seek immediate medical attention.