Bangor Woman Suffers Rare Heart Condition

Updated 2 years ago

Heart attacks can be triggered by many different factors,some common, others not so much.About two months after the birth of her fourth child, Sarah Teresa Howe found herself experiencing an unusual pain….”I was changing and I just had this overwhelming tight feeling in my chest.”She was with her mother at the time.”She looked like she was in so much pain, but she said, ‘Maybe, it’s just the coke that I had, perhaps it was a bubble or something and it might go away.’ But, it didn’t go away. It got worse.”They decided it was time to head to the hospital.”The tests weren’t really showing anything, and so they were going to discharge her and send her home and the pain was still, getting, as bad as it was before, and then the cardiologist came in and looked at the EKG, he said, you know, ‘Something’s really wrong here. She’s having a heart attack, or just had a heart attack.”During surgery, it became clear this wasn’t a typical heart attack.Her doctor even consulted another cardiologist in Boston…It was concluded the she was suffering from a rare condition called SCAD.”Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection,” explains cardiologist, Dr. Peter Ver Lee. “If you think of the arteries and the heart as litte tiny tubes or little pipes, the wall of the tube has multiple layers, in this particular condition, which happens more often in women, those layers start to fall apart and they don’t hold together and so the artery kind of collapses inward and that’s not good, because it blocks off the flow to the heart and you get the exact same signs and symptoms that you would have if you were a 75-year-old person with high cholesterol.”The condition can happen to men, but is most common in women. Especially older pregnant women, within a few months prior to delivery and a few months after labor…SCAD is a very rare condition, but it’s a caution for anyone feeling typical heart attack symptoms to seek medical attention.”Also, women’s symptoms can be different from men’s. They can get a sudden onset of just sweatiness, severe nausea, severe fatigue, suddenly overwhelming fatigue that they had never had before then they should get that evaluated.”For Howe, she’s just happy that four years later, she has completely recovered and the memories of when she couldn’t hold her children are behind her.


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