Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection: One Disease, Variable Presentations, and Different Management Approaches

Abdel Rahman A. Al Emam, Ahmed Almomani, Syed A. Gilani, Wissam I. Khalife

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD) is a rare cause of acute coronary syndrome. It occurs predominantly among younger females, typically in the absence of atherosclerotic coronary artery disease. Presentations vary greatly and this condition can be fatal. Given its rarity, there are no management guidelines. We present six patients with SCAD with different presentations and treatment approaches as examples in our literature review. Two patients presented with ST elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI), two with non-STEMI (NSTEMI), and two with cardiac arrest. Patients were treated according to the presentation, clinical stability, and extension and distribution of the dissection. Four patients underwent emergent percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) and one was clinically stable and treated medically initially and underwent an elective PCI after 4 weeks when coronary angiogram showed persistent dissection. Another patient was treated medically as he was hemodynamically stable and the dissection affected a small branch. Intravascular ultrasound (IVUS) or optical coherence tomography (OCT) was used for diagnosis confirmation as well as during and after PCI to assure good stent apposition. All patients had excellent outcome. SCAD is a rare cause of acute coronary syndrome and a high index of suspicion is crucial for early diagnosis. In patients with early presentation, limited disease, and ongoing symptoms, emergent cardiac catheterization with PCI has excellent outcome. However, in stable patients, medical management and elective PCI in few weeks if the dissection persists is a more reasonable approach. IVUS and OCT are invaluable especially in ambiguous cases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)139-147
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Angiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016


  • MI
  • PCI
  • acute coronary syndrome
  • coronary intervention
  • intravascular ultrasound
  • non-ST elevation myocardial infarction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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