Luisa Di Girolamo (Brisbane)

Luisa had her SCAD heart attack at age 42 on Christmas Eve while holidaying in Calgary, Canada. She was on her way out to do some Christmas shopping with her partner and her family when she felt a sudden pain in her chest. The pain progressed to her left arm, then between the shoulder blades, and she eventually felt sweaty and nauseous. Luckily, her partner’s father was with her and recognised the signs of a potential heart attack. He gave her a baby aspirin (he himself has two stents) and they were at the hospital within a few minutes.

Luisa was examined at the ER and the doctors knew that something was not right with her heart. She was ambulated to the cath. lab at a hospital that was one of the top two heart research hospitals in Canada. During the angiogram the doctors identified Luisa’s condition as a SCAD, contributing to a blood blockage in the Left Artery Descending (LAD). Luisa spent two days in Cardiac ICU and another five days in hospital. She spent another month recuperating in Canada before she could fly home. It was the longest 13 hours in the air. Luisa has permanent damage to the apex of her heart and is on beta blockers and an ace-inhibitor for the rest of her life. After two-and-a-half years since the SCAD, Luisa’s experienced plenty of ups and downs, though the ups are more prominent now. She keeps a healthy lifestyle and tries to stay positive through her relationship and the support of good friends.