SCAD survivor to host awareness, research-funding event

Lisa Ingebrand,

Two-time SCAD heart attack survivor Melissa (Bemis) Lorenz will host a SCAD Awareness Walk and Run in Elysian this Saturday. (Photo courtesy of Melissa Lorenz)

‘Because we need to know more’

She had her first heart attack at 35.

She remembers nothing. No pain. No aches.

Without warning, she collapsed.

It took 22 minutes of CPR, seven defibrillator shocks, and five days in the ICU to bring the young, healthy marathon runner back to life.

“When I came to and doctors told me I had a full heart attack… Well, there were no thoughts, really. It was a shock,” stated Melissa (Bemis) Lorenz, a 1999 graduate of Waterville-Elysian-Morristown High School. “I mean, I am healthy and active. I run, play volleyball, work out, and eat healthy. How could I have had a heart attack?”

She soon learned she had suffered a spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD).

A spontaneous tear had occurred in one of Lorenz’s apparently healthy heart artery. That tear caused blood to pool, clot, and block the blood flow to her heart muscle, resulting in a heart attack.

“It wasn’t what you might call a ‘normal’ heart attack. It has nothing to do with cholesterol or plaque build up in your blood vessels,” explained Lorenz. “But, the scary thing is that so little is known about SCAD. They don’t know the cause, and they don’t know how to prevent it. The research is truly just starting. Yet, it’s the number one cause of heart attacks among women under the age of 50.”

Doctors implanted a...

To see more on this story pick up the September 23, 2021 print edition of the LifeEnterprise. 



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