Explore This Treatment Program

Overview: A Multidisciplinary Approach

Spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD) is a rare condition that occurs when a tear forms in one or more blood vessels of the heart, which can slow or block blood flow to the heart and cause a heart attack. Although SCAD may seem similar to other conditions that cause heart attacks, it is a unique disorder that should be managed and monitored by specialists with expertise in the disease.

At the Elizabeth Anne and Karen Barlow Corrigan Women’s Heart Health Program in the Massachusetts General Hospital Corrigan Minehan Heart Center, a multidisciplinary team that includes experts in cardiology, vascular medicine and genetics works together to conduct a comprehensive evaluation in order to develop a treatment plan that is personalized to each patient's particular condition.

In the majority of cases, SCAD is treated with medications. In some cases, open heart surgery or a stent is needed. As part of your assessment, our team may recommend diagnostic testing with genetic screening and specialized imaging studies in order to define potential causes for your SCAD. We will also determine the best medications to treat your condition and follow you closely for the long term. Our team is dedicated to working with you to develop a treatment approach that allows you to lead an active life.

The Patient Experience

During your first consultation, your care team will conduct a physical examination and review your medical history. If you are a new patient, we ask that you bring a list of the medications, vitamins and herbal supplements that you take, along with information on dosages. Additionally, please bring any medical records, CDs of images, consultation notes, and notes on previous treatments and their effectiveness. We use this information at the time of your first visit to get a complete picture of your overall condition in order to develop an appropriate treatment plan.

We may recommend additional testing if needed and will help schedule your appointments. Our team will collaborate with your referring physician and ensure that she or he is aware of any test results and next steps in your treatment.

Additional SCAD Resources:

One Call Coordinates Care

Our dedicated nurse coordinator is available Monday through Friday from 8:30 am-5:00 pm to take relevant information about your condition and make a timely appointment with our team. Call 617-643-6988 to speak to the nurse coordinator or request an appointment online.

Advancing SCAD Research

As an academic medical center, Mass General is committed to studying diseases and developing new approaches in treatment. Our researchers are leaders within their respective fields and collaborate with colleagues in various departments across the hospital. As a patient, you can benefit from shared expertise, leading research, and our commitment to quality and excellence.

The goal of the SCAD research at Mass General is to determine potential causes of the disease as well as how to best manage this condition. Our researchers are committed to finding ways to improve the quality of life of patients with SCAD. 

Our research aims to:

  • Determine if there is a gene or genes that may be associated with SCAD
  • Study exercise protocols to determine what type of cardiac rehabilitation to offer SCAD patients
  • Evaluate the psychosocial impact of a SCAD diagnosis in order to develop mind/body interventions to help patients cope with the diagnosis
  • Evaluate the utility of different imaging tools in the treatment of SCAD

If you have SCAD and wish to participate in our SCAD research studies or request further information regarding our research registry, please contact Brian Neves at mghscad@partners.org or 617-643-6988.

The Mass General Difference

Mass General is consistently ranked among the best hospitals in the country by U.S. News & World Report. Our ranking is based on our quality of care, patient safety and reputation in different specialties. Our commitment to excellence means that we work to ensure that you receive the best care at all points during your visit. Our SCAD team works in close contact with your other physicians to ensure a coordinated, seamless experience.