Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection: Diagnosis and Management

  • Ilhwan Yeo
  • Dmitriy N. Feldman
  • Luke K. Kim
Coronary Artery Disease (D Feldman and V Voudris, Section Editors)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Coronary Artery Disease


Purpose of review

Spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD) is a non-iatrogenic and non-traumatic separation of the coronary arterial wall. While SCAD represents an important cause of myocardial infarction, optimal diagnostic and therapeutic options remain challenging. We sought to review recent studies and provide an update on diagnosis and management of SCAD.

Recent findings

Coronary angiography is the first-line diagnostic modality for SCAD, with three angiographic features commonly observed in SCAD: type 1 (pathognomonic angiographic appearance with contrast staining of the arterial wall), type 2 (long coronary stenosis), and type 3 (focal tubular stenosis). In addition, adjunctive intracoronary imaging can aid in identifying coronary dissections. Conservative management with beta-blockers and aspirin remains the mainstay of therapy. However, patients with high-risk features and recurrent symptoms may require revascularization. Several techniques have been reported, such as long stents to seal the entire length of the dissection, stepwise stenting starting at the distal edge followed by proximal edge stenting, use of bioabsorbable stents, and cutting balloon angioplasty. Furthermore, cardiac rehabilitation appears to be safe and offers significant benefits for patients with SCAD.


Coronary angiographic classification contributed to the increased recognition of SCAD in recent years. Selecting the most suitable and appropriate therapy based on accurate diagnosis is the cornerstone of management in SCAD. Further studies are needed to establish optimal treatment of SCAD depending on anatomical and/or clinical features.


Spontaneous coronary artery dissection Acute coronary syndrome Coronary artery disease Coronary angiography Intracoronary imaging 



We thank Amy Zhong, MA for her medical illustration of this article.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Ilhwan Yeo and Luke K. Kim each declare no potential conflicts of interest.

Dmitriy N. Feldman is a section editor for Current Treatment Options in Cardiovascular Medicine.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of MedicineIcahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai/The Mount Sinai HospitalNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Division of Cardiology, Department of MedicineWeill Cornell Medicine/New York Presbyterian HospitalNew YorkUSA

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