Bench to Bedside and Beyond – Revising Recovery for SCAD Patients 

Edinburgh Napier’s Centre for Cardiovascular Health aims to develop a unique combination of ‘bench to bedside and beyond’ research, focused on innovative solutions to improving patient-centred cardiovascular health. In the area of spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD), our researchers are currently undertaking innovative research by listening to patients and collaborating globally to improve the outcomes for patients worldwide.


Spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD) is a relatively rare cause of heart attack. Between 350 and 600 people in Scotland a year are thought to be affected, and about 95% of people who experienced it are women.


Edinburgh Napier’s Centre for Cardiovascular Health is working on a project to design a safe and effective recovery programme for SCAD survivors that can be quickly scaled to be offered to all survivors of SCAD in the UK and beyond. In particular, it is recommending a revised approach to the treatment plans of women who suffer from this condition.

Patient-focused Research, Care and Innovation

Spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD) is a form of heart attack that causes the lining of the coronary arteries to separate or bruise and can prevent blood flow. It is the cause of about 25% of heart attacks in women under-50 and it also has a high risk of recurrence, with about 30% or more having repeat attack. Although SCAD carries a low risk of death, it can be extremely debilitating and often associated with high levels of anxiety and depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Researchers at Edinburgh Napier’s Centre for Cardiovascular Health have conducted a complete systematic review, examining the care and treatment received for people who have had SCAD and understanding what happens once they get access to cardiac rehabilitation.

Collaborating and Modifying Recovery Treatment Plans for Women 

Traditionally, cardiac rehabilitation centres have been attended by men in their mid-60s, so often women of a different demographic attending these centres who have experienced SCAD find the conventional cardio rehabilitation treatment plans are not suited to their needs.

Edinburgh Napier University’s research in this area has highlighted that a revised, innovative approach is required to support women’s health and improve the effective treatment for women who have suffered from a SCAD.

The effect of this project will be huge. It's immeasurable. And it will not just be for Scotland; it will be worldwide.
Jill McLaggan, SCAD Patient and Clinical Massage Therapist

Our Centre for Cardiovascular Health

Edinburgh Napier's Centre for Cardiovascular Health is a multidisciplinary research and education centre committed to improving cardiovascular health across the globe.


Find out more about the Centre here