Jessica's story

Published Wed, 2 May 2018 by

I turned 31 in October 2017. Never had any health issues before. I work in an office environment and had no warning of my SCAD.

On 2 November 2017, while drying my hair getting ready for work, I had sudden crushing chest pain, a burning that travelled up to my throat and sharp pain through my back.

I couldn't get my breath and thought I was going to pass out.

I sat on the sofa trying to ease the pain and calm the breathing. 15 minutes passed and the pain was worse. I knew something was wrong and I called the emergency services. I was told on the phone to take aspirin, I didn't have any.

The ambulance arrived, told me to calm my breathing and took blood pressure, blood sugar and did what I think was an ECG. They told me it couldn't be my heart, I'm too young. Plus all their checks looked "normal" they said.

They asked if there had been any recent stress in my life. There had been a bereavement in my family the Friday before. I told the paramedics this and they said I must be having a panic attack. I then felt very silly and worried I had wasted their time. But, something was telling me that I was not all right.

I asked to be taken to be checked out. So, off to hospital we went. I wasn't given any medication en route but I was questioned more about my family member passing which was upsetting and then asked to explain what else in life was worrying me. I was also told that if they thought it was my heart they would be blue lighting me in.

On arrival at the hospital, the pain had begun to subside. The paramedics described my symptoms and mentioned the recent bereavement. I was asked to take a deep breath to see if it hurt. It did and that determined which part of triage I was taken to. Bloods were taken, an ECG done and I was questioned about what had happened that morning.

After a wait, blood results came back showing Troponin levels. I was then hooked up to a heart monitor, given lots of different medication and an injection in my tummy. They did not use the words heart attack yet. They moved me to a different part of triage.

I was then moved to CCU, heart monitor still attached, blood pressure being checked etc. More bloods taken and more waiting. Instead of my troponin levels dropping they went up from 53 to 4043.

SCAD was not mentioned at all, even after an ultrasound scan of my heart and more ECGs. I saw so many different faces that tried to explain what was going on but, they were reluctant to actually say heart attack. They said "you're young, fit, healthy, with no risk factors. This doesn't make sense. You're an interesting case". One told me she expected me to being lying flat out when she came to see me after looking at my bloods.

I was then moved to a ward, had another ECG where the pains returned while I was hooked up. I was given morphine and told to relax.

I was told I was to have strict bed rest and medications continued. Heart attack was finally confirmed.

The next morning I was told I would be moved to another hospital to have an angiogram. I was moved on the Sunday and had the angiogram on the Monday. SCAD was confirmed.

I had never heard of this and wasn't really given any information on it. All the leaflets I have related to "usual heart attacks". So I'm still in limbo. I was told it's rare, my information would be sent to Leicester and I was allowed to go home with medication the next day.

I'm still in total disbelief. I'm glad I found the SCAD group on Facebook. It's been so supportive and reassuring to hear what others have been through.

I'm still very confused and don't know what to expect from my recovery or my future. I still get little pains and I'm not sure if that's normal. My GP didn't know what SCAD was but looked at the leaflet I took with me and called the surgeon’s secretary for information. He said the surgeon would call me and answer any questions I have. Still awaiting the call.