Survivors' stories

These personal stories from SCAD survivors might help you understand what the treatment and recovery process can be like. But please remember that, as these stories demonstrate, no two people have exactly the same experiences...

Tracy's story

I am a 33 year old woman. I had SCAD on March 5th. It felt just as a Heart attack would. I had pain in my chest going down my left arm and down the left side of my throat. I awoke at half one in the morning with the pain. I thought it was heartburn as I have never had it before. I am very lucky to be alive as I took two aspirin to help with the pain and a heartburn remedy. I then don't remember much so think I must have passed out!

Kirsty's story

I am a 42 year old gastroenterology nurse specialist, wife to Gary and mum to Millie (8) and Archie (5).  I considered myself reasonably fit and well: non smoker, no medication, no risk factors in myself or family.... except perhaps carrying a few pounds too many and enjoyed a glass of wine or two (still do!).   I had taken up running in August 2013, ironically to improve my fitness and to lose some excess pounds.  I was really enjoying it, totally had the running bug and regularly ran three or four times a week, at least 5k each run.


Nikki's story

My SCAD happened 20 February 2012. We were on holiday in Canada visiting family and combining our trip with skiing. First resort, great family fun was had, and then moved on to Sun Peaks for next ski adventure. Skied again for two days feeling fine. The evening of the 19th I felt a bit off so retired early. Woke feeling fine and met my husband to photograph him doing some jumps, then we did a few runs together. Round two we went our separate ways. On my last run, about third of the way down, I started to have pains in my chest and lots of wind.

Bronnach's story

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.

Arlene's Story

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.

Debra's Story

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.

Debbie's Story

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.

Linda's story

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!

Catherine's story

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!

Christine's story

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.