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Spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD): disease mechanisms and complications

Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute & University of New South Wales

  • Cardiovascular Senior Researcher Grant
Date Funded:
  • 6 October, 2021
Chief Investigator/s:
  • Professor Robert Graham

Project Summary

To understand the genetic and cellular mechanisms, and psycho-social burden of SCAD – spontaneous coronary artery dissection, a life-threatening disorder that predominantly affects women.

What is the issue for NSW?

Over 1000 people in NSW die each year from an arterial dissection, many from a tear in their coronary artery, and of these 95% will be women in their 40s and 50s, and some who are much younger and have a heart attack associated with pregnancy. This research aims to redress this major disease burden by developing new preventative, diagnostic and management strategies.

Using cutting edge molecular and cellular multi-disciplinary approaches as well as both national and international collaborations, the work will help to strengthen NSW’s position as a world leader in cardiovascular research in general, and in the burgeoning new field of precision medicine in particular.

The work will directly inform not only NSW SCAD survivors, but importantly, clinicians and allied health workers. This will therefore help to maintain NSW’s leadership in providing the highest quality of health care to its people.

What does the research aim to do and how?

This research aims to perform detailed genetic testing on our SCAD survivors, to identify genetic markers of disease. These will be uniquely useful for patient management and in counselling those where SCAD occurs in families. This research also aims to develop both preclinical and cell-based models of SCAD to understand why it occurs and how to prevent it. Finally, this research aims to address the enormous burden of psycho-social problems associated with SCAD, which negatively impact well-being, and to remediate these problems.