Spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD) accounts approximately for 0.2% of cases of acute coronary syndrome. It is defined "spontaneous" in absence of any coronary wall damage. This disease affects primarily young women in good health, with no risk factors for coronary artery disease, especially during the postpartum period. Since the clinical presentation varies widely from no symptoms to typical angina and sudden cardiac death, SCAD incidence is underestimated. A 40-year-old woman, in the 8th week after delivery was admitted to our emergency department because of acute chest pain, and a diagnosis of inferior and posterior non-ST-elevation myocardial infarction was made. Emergency coronary angiography showed a small SCAD of the distal segment of a little marginal branch. Because of the small dimension of the dissection, optimal medical therapy was started. However, two days later, symptoms recurred and the ECG showed an anterior ST-elevation myocardial infarction. The patient was therefore transferred to the cath lab and coronary angiography showed extensive dissection of the left anterior descending coronary artery with good angiographic result. Percutaneous coronary intervention was performed and three drug-eluting stents were implanted. No retrospective studies or randomized clinical trials are available to guide the best treatment option in patients with SCAD, because of the wide variety of clinical presentation and the rarity of the pathology. Early and correct diagnosis of SCAD is key for adequate management. First, the site and precise quantification of lesion severity should be assessed with multiple angiographic projections. Intravascular ultrasound and optical coherence tomography can provide additional information about the entry point of the lesion. Hemodynamic status and extension of the myocardium at risk should be also evaluated to determine the best therapeutic strategy. Since the presence of SCAD may be associated with aneurysm formation and dissections of other arteries, screening of the arterial tree may be useful, especially of the supra-aortic trunks and splanchnic circulation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine