International Heart Spasms Alliance

Our Mission

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.

Goals & Purpose

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.

Our Experiences

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.

Heart Spasms

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.

Vision Statement

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.

Meet Our Founders

Terri Shumaker

  United States of America

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.

Cindy McCall


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.

Sarah Brown

  United Kingdom

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.

Annette Pompa

  United States of America

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 International Heart Spasm Alliance has an important role in the management of coronary vasospasms and microvascular angina by providing helpful information to affected patients. Moreover, their activities increase community awareness of these disabling disorders, since they are more common than currently realized. ”

- Prof. John Beltrame

What Are Heart Spasms / Non-Obstructive Coronary Artery Disease?

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.

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“ I support education and research to improve the wellbeing of patients with ischaemic heart disease. Coronary spasm is under-recognised and an important cause of angina and sometimes heart attack. The International Heart Spasms Alliance is a welcome development. ”

- Prof. Colin Berry

Real Patient Stories

People from all over the world have shared with us their own personal stories and experiences living with Coronary Vasospasm and Microvascular Angina.

These are their stories.

View All Stories

Get Informed

Learn all about the symptoms, causes and triggers of these heart conditions.

Educate. Inform. Enlighten.

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