SCAD is a difficult diagnosis to get your heart around.

You can count on us to help.


You Are Not Alone

We are a growing network of fellow Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection survivors, researchers and clinicians devoted to the mission of supporting you, your family and your health care team.

About the Alliance

SCAD Alliance is a unique organization with an integrated approach to the challenges facing spontaneous coronary artery dissection, or SCAD, patients and those who care about them. Our four-leaf “lucky” heart logo represents the torn artery we must overcome, supported by family, health partners, and researchers. With a focus on collaboration, SCAD Alliance has incorporated the many disciplines that play a role in researching spontaneous coronary artery dissection and caring for patients. We have crafted a team whose members are expert in the fields of cardiology, vascular disease, clinical psychology, connective tissue disorders, obstetrics/gynecology, endocrinology, and genetics. Founded in November 2013, our name says it all: SCAD Alliance.



Board of Directors

Advisory Council

Early Research Tells Us

The average age of SCAD survivors is 42. Nearly 80 percent of known SCAD patients are women, with 10 percent experiencing their dissection in the peripartum period, either late in pregnancy or in the weeks after having a baby. The remaining women appear to experience SCAD related to extreme exertion or associated conditions such as fibromuscular dysplasia (FMD) or connective tissue disorders, such as Marfan or Ehlers Danlos syndrome (Type IV). Hormone fluctuations also may play a role.

SCAD in men appears to be triggered by extreme physical exertion (e.g., fitness boot camps, triathlons) or the associated conditions as well. SCAD patients overall have none of the typical risk factors associated with other causes of heart attack, such as high blood pressure or plaque rupture from cholesterol build up.

In addition to identifying SCAD’s associated conditions, early research has uncovered facts that prove the urgent need for targeted research and educating the medical community to take a closer look at younger patients exhibiting heart attack symptoms. Contrary to popular belief, SCAD survivors can experience additional dissections, ranging from days to a decade after the original event. Most subsequent SCADs occur in a different vessel. Second or third SCADs have been seen in arteries other than the coronaries, including the femoral and internal carotid arteries. The recurrence rate of SCAD is estimated to be 21%.

SCAD may occur when a combination of factors and conditions occur as a “perfect storm.” Associated conditions of SCAD such as vascular irregularity, hormonal influences, collagen/genetic defect (e.g., Marfan, Ehlers Danlos, other connective tissue disorder), and physical exertion may interact or be subsets of each other.

Our Scientific Advisory Board

David Adlam, MD

Senior Lecturer, Department of Cardiovascular Sciences, University of Leicester, Cardiovascular Research Centre at Glenfield General Hospital, Leicester, UK

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Uri Elkayam, MD

Professor of Medicine (Cardiology, Obstetrics and Gynecology) Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, University of Southern California (Los Angeles)

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Santhi Ganesh, MD

Assistant Professor, Cardiovascular Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Department of Human Genetics — University of Michigan

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Leonard N. Girardi, MD

Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, New York Presbyterian-Weill Cornell Medical Center, and Associate Attending Surgeon, Memorial-Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

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Esther Kim, MD

Associate Professor of Medicine and Director of the Arteriopathy Clinic at Vanderbilt Heart and Vascular Institute

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Mark Lindsay, MD, PhD

Cardiologist, Massachusetts General Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital for Children, Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School

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Malissa Wood, MD

Co-director, MGH Heart Center Corrigan Women’s Heart Health Program; Director, MGH Corrigan Minehan Heart Center Fellowship in Women’s Cardiovascular Disease; Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School

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Sarah Berga, MD

Professor and Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Wake Forest School of Medicine and Executive Director of Women’s Health at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, Winston-Salem, NC, USA.

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