Associazione Nazionale Medici Cardiologi Ospedalieri



Cardiogenic shock due to spontaneous coronary artery dissection

Catellani Davide Parma(PR) – AOU PARMA | Paoli Giorgia PARMA(PR) – AOU PARMA | Tadonio Iacopo PARMA(PR) – AOU PARMA

Spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD) is an important but rare cause of myocardial infarction (MI) in young adults, particularly women.

Current guidelines recommend conservative treatment, given the low angiographic success and the high complication rate of percutaneous coronary intervention.

However, in SCAD patients presenting with STEMI or cardiogenic shock the needs of urgent revascularization is critical and PCI may be life threatening.

We present a case report occurs in our Hospital of a 42-year-old young woman without cardiovascular risk factors or notable comorbidities which was admitted to our emergency department for typical chest pain.

At admission the patient had a cardiovascular arrest from refractory ventricular fibrillation who was rescued according to ACLS protocol.

After resumption of ROSC, EKG showed anterolateral STEMI (FIGURE 1). Bedside echocardiography showed a severe reduction in systolic function (EF 30%) due to akinesia of the apex, septum and antero-lateral wall, with absence of noticeable valvulopathy, pericardial effusion or pathological findings in the right heart sections.

Therefore the patient underwent to Cath-lab for emergent coronary angiography that showed ostial DA subocclusion with SCAD type 2a on middle tract (Figure 2)

IVUS (intravascular ultrasound) imaging confirmed the diagnosis of SCAD, served to guided angioplasty on the LM-DA axis and to confirme optimal stent placement (FIGURE 3).

Subsequently, the course was complicated by a double shock component: first SCAI C cardiogenic shock that requested or IMPELLA CP implantation and second haemorrhagic shock due to profound hepatic bleeding because of traumatic injury caused by prolonged resuscitation maneuvers.

Mechanical ventricular support ensured haemodynamic stability to allow percutaneous embolisation of the hepatic arteries and patient stabilization.

Once the haemorrhagic focus was treated and cardiac function recovered, the patient ‘s condition gradually improved leading to a rapid weaning of haemodynamic and respiratory support.

No neurological sequelae were observed after the acute phase.


1) Urgent revascularization in patients with SCAD and high clinical instability is life threatening. IVUS imaging is crucial to confirm the diagnosis and guide the procedure.

2) The IMPELLA support in this case provided short-term haemodynamic support in a double component of shock.