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Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection (SCAD) is an unpredictable event with patients usually experiencing a sudden, unexpected heart attack. It can affect all age groups and is recognised as a cause of heart attacks in young adults. Both sexes can be affected but it is more common in women, in particular during or soon after pregnancy. Sadly some cases of SCAD are fatal. SCAD results from an acute bleed into the vessel wall of a coronary artery creating a false lumen (a lumen is the term for the inside of a blood vessel, the 'tube' down which the blood is supposed to flow). This accumulation of blood compresses the true lumen, restricting or preventing blood flow to the heart muscle.
Dr David Adlam is leading a team researching SCAD at the University of Leicester