DefinitionBy Mayo Clinic staff
Spontaneous coronary artery dissection — sometimes referred to as SCAD — is a rare emergency condition that occurs when a tear forms in one of the blood vessels in the heart.
Spontaneous coronary artery dissection can slow or block blood flow to the heart, causing a heart attack, abnormalities in heart rhythm and sudden death.
Spontaneous coronary artery dissection tends to affect people ages 30 to 50, though it can occur at any age. People who develop spontaneous coronary artery dissection are often healthy, and many don't have risk factors for heart disease, such as high blood pressure and diabetes.
Spontaneous coronary artery dissection can lead to sudden death if it isn't diagnosed and treated promptly. For this reason, seek emergency attention if you experience heart attack signs and symptoms — even if you think you aren't at risk for a heart attack.
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