Mom teaches others, fights through rare heart condition - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

Mom teaches others, fights through rare heart condition


A metro mother is helping save other women's lives by taking part in a new study.

Edie Marie Battaglia is part of a Mayo Clinic study where they're using DNA to find out what causes spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD).

Battaglia is doing the study so doctors can better understand the possible deadly condition that strikes otherwise healthy women without warning.

"When I got up from my desk, I felt this sensation underneath my left breast," Battaglia said.

She felt intense pressure in her chest that could not be relieved by aspirin or an ice pack. She was suffering from SCAD.

"(It is) a spontaneous or sudden rupture in the lining of our coronary artery. A tear in the lining that then fills with blood and that obstructs blood flow," cardiologist Dr. Tracy Stevens said.

Battaglia was rushed to Saint Luke's Hospital. She was given 12 medications to treat her symptoms. 

What's scary for women is that doctors admit they need to know more about what causes this condition.

"Unfortunately, we don't have confident opinions and recommendations or guidelines about this," Stevens said.

However, Battaglia turned her fears into a fight to raise awareness.

She speaks around the country about SCAD. She tells women if they don't take time out of their lives to take care of themselves, they won't be around long to continue to care for their families.

SCAD impacts women 80 percent of time. In about 20 percent of the cases, female patients are in the final stages of pregnancy or they just gave birth. Some studies suggest the condition can be brought on by hormonal issues.

It is not uncommon that this can happen after the delivery of a child, hormonal stress or overwhelming exertion. Unfortunately, sudden death can be the first warning.

Doctors say the best advice is for women to listen to their bodies.

"Especially women who are stubborn, do not hesitate to call 911. Do not try to justify your symptoms or hope they will go away or wait for a family to get home from work. Take immediate action," Stevens said.

If you experience chest discomfort, shortness of breath, indigestion, chest tightness pain between the shoulder blades you need to seek medical attention.

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