Scientist in a lab - Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute

2019 SCAD Research Update

Spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD) Update 2019

12 August 2019

Spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD) is a tear in an artery that supplies blood to the heart. It is a potentially fatal problem that presents as a heart attack or sudden death, affecting relatively young women (95% of cases) with few heart disease risk factors, and is, therefore, often overlooked.

The underlying defect causing SCAD is entirely unknown, however, our work and that of others suggests that it is most likely due to a gene change that enhances susceptibility to vessel rupture. Our purpose is to better understand, treat and prevent SCAD by identifying factors that predispose the coronary artery to spontaneous tearing.

Our objectives are to investigate the genetics and cell biology, as well as blood pressure and heart function responses, of our familial SCAD survivors versus controls. Our research would bring together multi-disciplinary, internationally-competitive researchers to dissect the molecular mechanisms underlying SCAD, with the objective of identifying targets for the development of effective preventative and treatment strategies, irrespective of ethnicity.

This research will thus be equally effective, impactful and applicable to the health needs of priority populations, such as the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, individuals from CALD backgrounds and socio-economically disadvantaged groups. The proposed project is one of NHMRC’s National Health Priority Areas that directly addresses Australia’s major healthcare burden—cardiovascular disease—both in terms of morbidity and mortality, and also economically; cardiovascular disease costing Australia some $12 billion annually.

Participate in SCAD research

If you are an Australian SCAD survivor and would like to be involved in the our research program at the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute, please email:

A Facebook group has been set up especially for Australian SCAD survivors. It's a great support network.

*This project was supported by the NSW Government's Cardiovascular Research Capacity Building Program.

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Julia Timms
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0457 517 355

Acknowledgement of Country

The Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute acknowledges Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures; and to Elders past and present.

Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute - The Home of Heart Research for 30 Years