In SCAD, an artery near the heart tears, blocking blood flow in and around the heart, causing a heart attack. Researchers say the condition is not common and is highly under-diagnosed.
Dr. Sharonne Hayes, a researcher at the Mayo Clinic says, "the average age is about 42 and it's disproportionately women, so about 70 percent of the cases or greater are women and of those women, 30% are in the few weeks to months after giving birth."
Researchers at the Mayo Clinic have started the first major study of the condition. And while doctors don't know exactly what causes scad or how to treat it they do know that up to 20 percent of patients who have had one SCAD episode will have another.
Researchers are also looking into whether genetics plays a role in SCAD and they also found a link between SCAD and fibromuscular dysplasia, another rare condition that causes a narrowing in some arteries.