Case 9-1: Spontaneous coronary artery dissection in a young, postpartum female
A 27-year-old woman presented with severe, substernal chest pain 2 weeks after a normal spontaneous vaginal delivery.
12-lead electrocardiogram. RA = ST segment elevations in the anterior precordial leads
This patient had stable vital signs and was in moderate painful distress with no abnormal physical findings.
An EKG was remarkable for ST-segment elevations in the anterior precordial leads. Bedside emergency department (ED) cardiac ultrasound demonstrated an apical and septal wall motion abnormality. The patient was treated with nitroglycerin, aspirin, heparin, and ticagrelor and went to the cardiac catheterization lab.
Cardiac catheterization revealed a 100% occlusion of the proximal left anterior descending coronary artery from a spontaneous coronary artery dissection, with initial thrombolysis in myocardial infarction (TIMI) flow = 0. Two drug-eluding stents were placed, and her EKG returned to normal. Shortly after returning to the coronary care unit, the patient suffered a ventricular fibrillation cardiac arrest and was successfully resuscitated with one defibrillation. Repeat cardiac catheterization revealed patent stents, and the arrest was thought secondary to a reperfusion arrhythmia. The patient went on to have an uncomplicated hospital course and was discharged neurologically intact.
The classic patient profile for spontaneous coronary artery dissection is young, female, and postpartum.
The left anterior descending artery is most commonly involved.
Spontaneous coronary artery dissection has been increasingly discovered in women, accounting for 24% of myocardial infarctions in women under the age of 50 years.
Treatment can be complex and depends on the presence or absence of acute myocardial infarction.
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