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Protect the women
you love.

Bring 41 and fit didn't save
Liza from a heart attack. 

Fit? 40? Female? But feeling faint? You could be having a heart attack

On a beautiful spring morning in 2014, Liza went to inspect a house she and her husband were considering buying in their hometown of Sydney.

Within five minutes of arriving at the house, Liza began feeling a little faint. While waiting for her husband to arrive, she thought she’d pop out into the back garden for a breath of fresh air.

Within minutes she collapsed. Her heartbeat was fluctuating wildly.

The medics who arrived with the ambulance worked on her for 30 minutes.

The repeated cardiopulmonary resuscitation was cracking her ribs like they were sticks.

Seven times they shocked her. And it was only after the last shock that her heart assumed a rhythm.

Minutes later, as she was being loaded into the ambulance, Liza had another heart attack.

With no warning, an artery running to Liza’s heart had spontaneously split open.

Without adequate blood pumping through her heart, she was dying.

She didn’t know it at the time, but Liza has a condition called spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD).

It’s a very serious condition. Basically, the coronary artery – the main artery to your heart or one of its branches - can just split open with no warning.

And it tends to affect younger and middle-aged women who are fit, with none of the usual indicators of heart disease.

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

When we began this research we were looking for 40 participants with SCAD.

It 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 SCAD.

Now we have 230 people participating in the study.

The whole genome sequencing alone costs $2,000 for each person. We’ve already completed 103. Then there are the subsequent stages of the research that take a lot of work and time.

But the larger the study we conduct, the more valuable the insights will be.

This kind of research project relies heavily on kind supporters like you.

SCAD – What to be aware of

Signs and symptoms may vary from mild discomfort in the chest to common heart attack warning signs, including:

  • A rapid heartbeat or fluttery feeling in your chest
  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Pain in your arms, shoulders or jaw
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sweating
  • Unusual or extreme tiredness
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