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Mum raising awareness of rare condition Scad after suffering three heart attacks in a week

A healthy mum-of-two who suffered three heart attacks in a week at the age of 30 says the hellish experience has changed her life forever.

Rose Murphy, who is from Herne Bay remembers begging her mum not to let her die as she was blue-lighted to London following the third attack in November, 2018.

KMTV speaks to mum who beat the odds to survive near death experience

Miraculously, despite a less than 10% chance of survival, the former Canterbury College student lived to tell the traumatic tale.

And now she wants to raise awareness of the rare condition which almost claimed her life.

Spontaneous coronary artery dissection (Scad) occurs when a tear forms in one of the heart’s blood vessels, slowing or blocking blood-flow to the heart.

Rose, now 32, was exercising in Herne Bay’s Active Life gym when she suffered the first of her heart attacks.

“There was a big stabbing pain in my chest but I thought it was an asthma attack and that maybe I had overdone it at the gym,” she recalled.

Rose Murphy is lucky to be alive after being diagnosed with Scad. Picture: Paul Amos
Rose Murphy is lucky to be alive after being diagnosed with Scad. Picture: Paul Amos

“I am a healthy person and am into my fitness so it was a massive shock to have a heart attack at 30.”

Scad cannot be predicted or prevented. Most cases involve women and most victims are often misdiagnosed with panic attacks or anxiety.

Rose was diagnosed with Scad following her first attack - three months after the birth of her second child.

Childbirth is a common cause of the condition due to arteries becoming weaker when pregnant.

Two days after being sent home from hospital after the first attack, Rose suffered another while in bed.

Rose in hospital after her third heart attack in a week
Rose in hospital after her third heart attack in a week

She was again taken to the QEQM in Margate, with her blood pressure levels “through the roof”.

She was transferred to the William Harvey Hospital in Ashford to have a stent inserted, but doctors realised her entire left anterior descending artery had burst.

The artery is commonly known as the “widow-maker” because of the high risk of death if it becomes blocked.

Doctors decided to rush Rose to heart specialists in London, but she suffered yet another attack before her trip.

“It felt like a hammer in the chest,” said the former hairdresser, who lives in Cross Street.

'I begged my mum not to let me die' - Rose Murphy

“I just didn’t know what was going on. I’d never had pain like it - it was just mental.

“I was being readied to go to London and I said my final farewells to my family.

“I begged my mum not to let me die but there was a 90% chance I would.”

“I’d had three heart attacks in a week and the teams at Ashford and Margate didn’t have any answers, and when you research it online you see almost everyone doesn’t make it through - so it was very scary. I was petrified.”

The cardiology team at St Thomas’ worked alongside the Scad research team from Leicester University to desperately try to save Rose.

Rose suffered her first heart attack while at the gym
Rose suffered her first heart attack while at the gym

“The ambulance crews who picked me up came to visit me in London after my treatment and said it was a miracle I was still alive,” she said.

“The whole ordeal was absolutely life-changing - it was like I had a major accident and had become disabled.

“After a month in hospital, I then spent six months resting in a chair, where I could only walk 15 minutes a day to go to the toilet.”

Now living with a permanently damaged heart, Rose wants all women to be more aware of the condition and to get themselves checked if they begin to feel symptoms such as chest pains.

She also wants to train to help others who suffer with cardiac problems.

“The dangers of Scad really need to be known,” she said. “Young, healthy women are dying from it but getting checked can save you.

“I hope that in five years, everyone will know about it.”

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