First International Site Joins Multi-Center iSCAD Registry



New partnership brings genetic expertise in understanding of SCAD heart attack  

ALEXANDRIA, VA (06/14/2023) – The Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute in Australia has become the first research team outside the US to join the iSCAD Registry, an independent multi-center collaboration of researchers and patients working to identify the cause of heart attack from spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD). 

Until recently, very little was known about the dangerous disorder, which primarily affects women, according to Katherine K. Leon, co-founder and executive director of the nonprofit organization SCAD Alliance, which funds the iSCAD Registry. SCAD is the most common cause of heart attack in pregnant women and more than 25% of women under age 50. People who develop SCAD are often healthy with no known risk factors of heart disease. Leon herself is a survivor of postpartum SCAD heart attack.  

“The iSCAD Registry investigators have done so much in such a short time, and welcoming the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute and principal investigator Professor Jason Kovacic to the team is a significant step in our understanding of the genetics of SCAD,” said Leon. 

Kovacic is the Institute’s director, and a key author on research published recently in Nature Genetics, “Genome-wide association meta-analysis of spontaneous coronary artery dissection identifies risk variants and genes related to artery integrity and tissue-mediated coagulation.” Researchers provided the largest study to date aimed at understanding the genetic basis of SCAD. 

“By combining forces with other leading SCAD scientists and being able to conduct research with the iSCAD team using such a large cohort, we will be able to achieve far more,” Kovacic said. 

“We are thrilled to have Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute as our first international site, and to welcome the entire team with their amazing expertise in genetics and translational science work in SCAD,” said Esther Kim, MD, Chair of the SCAD Alliance Scientific Advisory Board and International Principal Investigator of the iSCAD Registry. Dr. Kim is the director of the Center for Women’s Cardiovascular Health at Sanger Heart and Vascular Institute in Charlotte, NC.  

The iSCAD Registry contains the medical history of more than 1,300 SCAD patients. The Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute becomes the 24th site to join the Registry, founded in 2019. (Click here to see the iSCAD Registry sites.) 

The first manuscript and eight other scientific papers based on iSCAD Registry data are in the editing stage based on abstracts presented at the American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association Scientific Sessions, according to Leon.    


The mission of the iSCAD Registry is to develop and maintain an independent, multi-center data repository to advance the pace and breadth of SCAD research around the world, toward the common goals of improving patient diagnosis and outcomes and accelerating scientific discovery. The coordinating center of iSCAD Registry is PERFUSE, an academic research organization. 


The mission of SCAD Alliance is to be the leader in advancing the science of Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection (SCAD) through improved knowledge and cooperation among health care professionals, patients and their families. It educates key audiences and fosters unique, interdisciplinary research collaborations. Its vision is to empower each SCAD survivor with an accurate diagnosis, superior outcome and answers. 

During the Sanger SCAD Patient Symposium on April 22, 2023, Professor Jason Kovacic, executive director of the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute, shares with patients and family members a comprehensive explanation of a new discovery implicating 16 genes in SCAD.