SCAD:Liza's Story

This heart condition is killing apparently healthy younger women

Spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD) is a condition that was thought to be very rare, but it is now clear that almost 1 in 4 heart attacks in women under 50 are caused by it.

Learn more about this dangerous heart condition in the 97 second video below. You’ll see images showing just how SCAD affects a real artery and hear Cardiologist, Professor Bob Graham from the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute talk about who is at risk and what needs to be done.

SCAD is a frightening condition that can occur without warning. It causes the main artery of the heart to spontaneously tear, resulting in a heart attack.

Liza with her son after SCAD attack | Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute
A weak and unwell Liza in hospital having a cuddle with her worried little boy after Liza suffered from a SCAD attack that tore a major artery in her heart, causing a life-threatening heart attack.

It’s not known what causes SCAD. But right now, researchers at the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute are conducting vital research to try and find out.

There are three elements to this research, which is aimed at exploring the genetics of SCAD.

The first element involves analysing a patient’s entire genetic make-up to identify any commonalities amongst people with SCAD.

The second is to study a patient’s skin cells to see if we can identify any unique characteristics which might shed light on why women are more likely to suffer a SCAD heart attack.

Down the track, we also hope to use blood vessel cells to screen potential medication that might help prevent or reduce the occurrence of SCAD.

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

Learn more about SCADSupport women like Liza - Donate to SCAD Research Learn more about Professor Graham's Research into SCAD

Acknowledgement of Country

The Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land, the Gadigal of the Eora nation, on which we meet, work, and discover.
Our Western Australian laboratories pay their respect to the Whadjuk Noongar who remain as the spiritual and cultural custodians of their land.