Cindy McCall

My symptoms first presented in my 20’s. Breathlessness and waking with numb, cold hands and feet. Despite negative tests, Asthma was diagnosed.

At 28, I started a personal training course. I went into supraventricular tachycardia and was successfully ablated but continued getting shoulder blade pain, a choking feeling, grey complexion and distended neck veins without a diagnosis.

“At 35, I woke feeling nauseated. Chest pain traveled to my jaw, down my arm, making me breathless and vomit.”

In A&E, Electrocardiogram (ECG) was normal and Valium was given. Further chest pain showed ST elevation on an ECG with raised cardiac markers (troponin). I was taken for an angiogram and my artery spasmed at 90%.  All other tests were negative. A diagnosis of Coronary Artery Spasm was made and I was started on Diltiazem and Imdur.

I commenced my Diploma of Nursing and had a similar episode the same year. They added Nicorandil and increased the other medications. I was stable for many years. I went on to do my Bachelor of Nursing and I’m still practicing. I continue to play softball – exercise creates nitric oxide.

I had a further two episodes of myocardial infarction with non-obstructive coronary arteries (MINOCA) caused by spasm at 42. Symptoms settled after an IUD – Intrauterine System (IUS) – Hormonal Coil.

Two more MINOCA episodes occurred at 45 – one after a scope but the second had no trigger. The angiogram was clear, although temporary heart stunning showed on echocardiograph.

The combination of having a supportive network, timing of medications, adding supplements, cutting work hours, reducing stress (yoga, meditation) and making sure I didn’t set off triggers (cold, stress and lack of sleep), has now kept me stable.

Get Informed

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

Educate. Inform. Enlighten.

Click to access the login or register cheese