February 28, 2022
International Heart Spasms Alliance (IHSA) is dedicated to supporting those affected by unseen heart issues. IHSA is a global initiative lead by experts through experience. These are patients who are living with coronary vasospasms and microvascular angina, while also working in a collaborative equal partnership with clinicians. IHSA serves both the patient and medical communities by educating, informing, and enlightening them to help achieve earlier diagnoses, better treatments, and support research into these conditions.
A common thought, purpose, and goal brought us together. We may have been strangers from around the world, but our paths were destined to cross. In the span of five years, different Facebook support groups we created and participated in united us in a common goal: to do better. We have different backgrounds and experiences, but this condition appears to be as elusive as a unicorn in fairyland.
These pages have been written by patients - with a lived experience of these conditions - for patients, carers and healthcare professionals and include, whenever possible, a positive holistic patient centred approach. We have invited Healthcare Professionals to our alliance to work with us in an equal partnership. They have helped us compile the information section for Healthcare professionals on this website.
We have used the term “Heart Spasms” as this is the phrase that many people living with coronary vasospasm or microvascular angina use to describe what they are feeling in their bodies. It is a phrase that binds us and draws us together with the shared experience of our particular heart condition irrespective of whether our small or large coronary blood vessels are affected.
This website will be constantly evolving and we welcome your constructive ideas of how to improve the information on our website.
Our vision is a world where Coronary Vasospasm and Microvascular Angina are quickly, and appropriately recognized, treated, and respected with the patient at the heart of care. In this way, we strive for overall support to live with vasospasms, microvascular angina, and other hard to diagnose heart conditions.
Diagnosed over 20 years ago and still being dismissed and doubted at times. Thankful for the clinicians that help and advocate for myself when necessary.
Mother. Nanny. Registered Nurse and life long learner. Daughter was twelve when diagnosed after a STEMI (heart attack) that was caused by a spasm in the LAD (left anterior descending artery) in 2010.
Since my diagnosis I have received life affirming care. However, I still sometimes feel it is as though I am asking clinicians to believe in unicorns in fairyland when I ask them to acknowledge my diagnosis.
My heart journey started September of 2010. Cooling down from a run, I remember thinking, ‘I don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t run.’ I would find out.
The heart is a muscle that continuously pumps blood to supply oxygen to all the cells of the body. To do this, the heart needs its own reliable blood supply from the large blood vessels (the coronary arteries) and an extensive network of much smaller blood vessels (the microvessels).
During physical and emotional stress, the heart muscle needs more blood. When this does not happen, the heart muscle is starved of oxygen and a person may suddenly feel symptoms of angina.
Learn all about the symptoms, causes and triggers of these heart conditions.
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