I suppose looking back it started when I was 32 weeks pregnant, I was not feeling right, couldn't put my finger on it, my blood pressure wasn't great, kept getting palpitations and what I can only describe as low blood sugar. I saw my midwife but she dismissed how I was feeling, after all it was my third pregnancy and I was a full time teacher so that was what she put it down to. Luckily my GP listened to me and signed me off work.
In a recent report ITV news have covered the story of Rebecca Breslin, a SCAD survivor who has, through tremendous effort, has collaborated with the University of Leicester to help initiate a research programme. Launching on 29th February, the new study aims to gain insight into the underlying mechanisms behind spontaneous coronary artery dissection. A better understanding of this disease may help to prevent recurrence, which is a major concern for those who have suffered a SCAD.
The British Heart Foundation have produced a fantastic video highlighting the experiences a SCAD survivor goes through. Click here to read more about this and the inspiring story of the group of SCAD survivors that kickstarted our research in Leicester
November 2012, I had a coughing fit. I sometimes get Laryngospasm. It can happen two or three times a year; twice it woke me up. Very frightening. All of a sudden I get a tickle in my throat and then I cannot breathe. It's as though someone has put a vice around my lungs. Every breath, or rather noise, that comes from me is a real effort.
On that day last year, I started to cough, it did not develop into a complete breathless attack but it was severe. After it had subsided, I had a really bad pain in the middle of my chest; I really did not feel well at all.
I had my SCAD in August 2012 whilst out shopping with my children. It came completely out of the blue, I was fit and healthy, never experienced any heart problems previously. One minute I felt fine, the next minute I felt faint and I had an unusual pain in my chest - almost like I had something stuck in my oesophagus. I called passersby for help as I was worried I was going to pass out and was concerned for my kids.
I was 49 when I had my SCAD heart attack in 2011.
It was a Sunday and I had done some cardio work at the gym followed by an arm weights machine. I then did a fast walk on the treadmill and after a couple of minutes felt a pain in the centre of my chest and my left hand and forearm were numb. I stopped exercising, thinking I had pulled a muscle when using the arm weights. By the time I had showered and changed the pain had gone.
Wednesday 2nd May 2007 I was walking our dog with my husband when I felt pain and pins & needle like sensations down my left arm. I said to my husband, I'm sure I have just had a heart attack and he said I'm sure you would know!
My SCAD occurred on the longest day of the year, June 21st 1999. I was 9 months pregnant at the time. The pregnancy was my fourth; I had had three previous miscarriages with no known cause... I did some research of my own and my GP at the time agreed to me taking a 75 mg Aspirin daily for the first 36 weeks of the pregnancy. Little did I know I would need to take Aspirin for the rest of my life!
My SCAD occurred on 10 March 2011. I was 49.
I was pretty sure I was having a heart attack as I had pressure on my chest and weakness in my arms but no pain. At the time it happened I was gardening. MI was diagnosed after a couple of hours in A&E and blood test results came back. I was taken to Liverpool Heart & Chest Hospital for an angiogram and a stent was fitted.