SCAD Alliance was established as a 501(c)(3) organization in 2013 when Katherine Leon and Rachel Doucette, with the vision to empower each SCAD survivor with an accurate diagnosis, superior outcome, and answers, decided to work diligently to raise the profile of spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD), educate key audiences, and advocate for clinical studies.
In 2013, Dr. Malissa Wood, became the first SCAD Alliance Scientific Advisor and in 2014 was joined by Dr. Esther Kim. After being named Chair of the SCAD Alliance Scientific Advisory Board, Dr. Esther Kim led the development of "Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection: Current State of the Science: A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association"—the first document of its kind. In 2015, Dr. Sahar Naderi joined the SAB and worked to advance SCAD professional awareness on the west coast. This core leadership team of Kim, Wood, Naderi and Leon created the first independent, multi-center SCAD Registry in the United States, which launched on March 8, 2019. In 2023, the registry has more than 1,222 participants and 20+ sites.
SCAD Alliance is a unique organization with an integrated approach to the challenges facing spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD) patients and those who care about them. Our four-leaf “lucky” heart logo represents the torn artery that 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 experts in the fields of cardiology, vascular disease, clinical psychology, connective tissue disorders, obstetrics/gynecology, endocrinology, and genetics.
What is SCAD
Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection (SCAD) is an under-diagnosed cause of acute coronary syndrome (ACS), heart attack and sudden cardiac arrest. When a SCAD occurs there is a separation and a hemorrhage within the layers of a coronary artery wall, which may or may not create a tear and a flap of tissue that blocks blood flow to the artery. SCAD is not associated with atherosclerosis like most “typical” heart attacks. It strikes without warning, traumatizing survivors who are often women younger than 50 years old. The cause of SCAD is currently unknown although some known factors include emotional stress, physical stress, possibly inflammatory disorders and connective tissue diseases. Many doctors are unsure how to treat it and misdiagnosis or symptom dismissal occurs too often.