Clinicians, researchers, patients, and leaders from Leicester’s Hospitals attended an event to
celebrate and reflect on progress made in the understanding and treatment of SCAD, and Leicester’s
vital role in the care for this condition.
Over 60 people attended the hybrid meeting, including Leicester’s Hospitals Chief Executive Richard Mitchell, who expressed how powerful the patient stories were.
Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection (SCAD) is a rare and under-diagnosed heart condition that
can’t currently be predicted or prevented. Most cases are in young- to middle-aged women who
don’t fit average heart-attack profiles, although SCAD can affect men as well. In SCAD, the wall of a
coronary artery becomes bruised and constricts blood flow, causing a heart attack. In typical heart
attacks, clots or other obstructions within the artery cause this reduced blood flow.
Current care for SCAD is inconsistent, often patients are given the same treatments as those with
typical heart attacks, which may not be necessary. Patients can also experience long-lasting
symptoms, such as chest pain, which may not be managed effectively and lead to readmissions to
Dr David Adlam became involved in SCAD research when a patient advocacy group approached him.
Since then, he has worked closely with the BeatSCAD charity to further SCAD research. Currently
1867 patients and 242 healthy volunteers make up the SCAD research registry. Results of the
research have led to the first gene found linked with the condition, detailed description of the heart
injury caused by SCAD, and the development of SCAD care and the SCAD clinic in Leicester.
Five patients and members of the BeatSCAD charity joined the meeting and shared their stories from
across the country. All the stories shared some similarities, the women described instances of feeling
dismissed or unheard and shared their joy and relief in finding community on the BeatSCAD
Facebook page. All also highlighted the key role visiting Leicester made to their care, both in their
own understanding and empowerment, and in guiding their local doctors to improve their care.
Nazia shared her story for the first time and described finding the BeatSCAD Facebook page after her
second SCAD event: “This changed everything for me, people were just chatting and asking the same
questions I had been asking for 13 years, my questions were valid! I felt vindicated. People on the
group were talking about the Leicester team that was helping, all the answers weren’t there, but the
group was looking into it.”
Harriet shared that a physiotherapist in Wales leading her rehabilitation after her second SCAD, had
previously visited the Leicester clinic to receive education in the treatment of this condition: “My
physio said: “I want you to tell them they’re all absolutely fantastic.”
Sarah Coombes, who is also a trustee of the BeatSCAD charity, said: “There is a body of knowledge
and expertise here, we get answers and important care. It’s not just about the acute management
and the immediate aftermath, it’s about the long term. Here you get treated holistically.
“BeatSCAD thanks this clinic from the bottom of our slightly dodgy hearts.”