Spontaneous coronary artery dissection is a type of heart attack commonly associated with young women during and after pregnancy. Unlike most heart attacks, which occur when plaque clogs up an artery, SCAD occurs when the artery is blocked by an internal tear. Over the years, doctors have found that SCAD is more universal than previously thought and affects women averaging between 45 and 53 years of age. Women in West Virginia may want to know more about this condition.

SCAD is prone to misdiagnosis because women younger than 50 typically show none of the usual risk factors for heart attacks, such as chest pain, nausea and shortness of breath. The problem grows when SCAD patients are sent to the catheterization lab to have their arteries opened with stents; studies have shown that dissections heal faster without stents. Other doctors may not realize that SCAD has a high rate of recurrence.

This is why a new study from the Mayo Clinic highlights the need for cardiac rehabilitation programs made with SCAD patients in mind. Conservative therapy that allows the body to heal on its own is considered the best option for moving forward. The study also emphasizes that SCAD patients need knowledgeable, caring support as many who survive the condition suffer from anxiety and depression afterwards.

If a doctor fails to diagnose SCAD or provides treatments with an adverse effect, he or she might be guilty of medical malpractice. To have a valid malpractice claim, several things must be determined, including the existence of a doctor-patient relationship and proof that the doctor failed to live up to a standard of care. A lawyer may be able to request an inquiry with the state medical board and consult investigators to strengthen the case before proceeding to negotiations.