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Circulation. 2012 Jul 31;126(5):579-88. doi: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.112.105718. Epub 2012 Jul 16.

Clinical features, management, and prognosis of spontaneous coronary artery dissection.

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Division of Cardiovascular Diseases, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN 55905, USA.



Spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD) is an acute coronary event of uncertain origin. Clinical features and prognosis remain insufficiently characterized.


A retrospective single-center cohort study identified 87 patients with angiographically confirmed SCAD. Incidence, clinical characteristics, treatment modalities, in-hospital outcomes, and long-term risk of SCAD recurrence or major adverse cardiac events were evaluated. Mean age was 42.6 years; 82% were female. Extreme exertion at SCAD onset was more frequent in men (7 of 16 versus 2 of 71; P<0.001), and postpartum status was observed in 13 of 71 women (18%). Presentation was ST-elevation myocardial infarction in 49%. Multivessel SCAD was found in 23%. Initial conservative management (31 of 87) and coronary artery bypass grafting (7 of 87) were associated with an uncomplicated in-hospital course, whereas percutaneous coronary intervention was complicated by technical failure in 15 of 43 patients (35%) and 1 death. During a median follow-up of 47 months (interquartile range, 18-106 months), SCAD recurred in 15 patients, all female. Estimated 10-year rate of major adverse cardiac events (death, heart failure, myocardial infarction, and SCAD recurrence) was 47%. Fibromuscular dysplasia of the iliac artery was identified incidentally in 8 of 16 femoral angiograms (50%) undertaken before closure device placement and in the carotid arteries of 2 others with carotid dissection.


SCAD affects a young, predominantly female population, frequently presenting as ST-elevation myocardial infarction. Although in-hospital mortality is low regardless of initial treatment, percutaneous coronary intervention is associated with high rates of complication. Risks of SCAD recurrence and major adverse cardiac events in the long term emphasize the need for close follow-up. Fibromuscular dysplasia is a novel association and potentially causative factor.

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