Spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD) occurs when there is a tear in the inner layers of a blood vessel in the heart, causing blockage and reducing blood flow and oxygen to the heart. It is an emergency condition that can result in heart attack and even death. Unfortunately, the causes of SCAD are poorly understood, and it is often misdiagnosed and mistreated.
This disease is very concerning because SCAD affect mostly young, otherwise healthy individuals, particularly women. The objective of our study is to enroll and follow 3,000 women and men who have suffered a heart attack as a result of SCAD. These patients will be recruited from across Canada, the United States, and internationally. This will be the largest and most comprehensive study on SCAD in the world.
We will follow them for up to 10 years and evaluate how their initial treatment (surgery, stenting, or medication) affects their in-hospital recovery and long-term health outcomes. We will also assess for underlying causes of SCAD that include pregnancy or abnormal growths causing narrowing of the walls of the arteries. We will also perform genetic tests in a large subset of these patients to determine if there are genes we can use to screen off-springs of patients. We will also examine how these conditions can affect the future risks of cardiovascular events, such as another heart attack, stroke, or death. This innovative research study will help generate guidelines to diagnose, investigate and treat SCAD.