Category: News


Patient perspectives: how a quest for better recognition and care...

Around 40% of all patients undergoing angiography are found to have normal coronary arteries or non-obstructive coronary artery disease (NOCAD). This often results in ongoing issues in accessing effective care and treatment. Four women confronted with inconsistent medical advice decided to take matters into their own hands by forming a patient group to bridge the knowledge gap.

The International Heart Spasms Alliance (IHSA) was officially set up in 2021 by Terri Shumaker, a single mother of two in the United States, Cindy McCall, an Australian nurse, Sarah Brown, a retired British midwife, and American Annette Pompa. It aims to advocate for people with heart conditions that are frequently undiagnosed/misdiagnosed and misunderstood by both patients and clinicians.

Read More »

Improving the Diagnosis of Heart Disease in Women

Dr. Shah’s team is studying 100 women over two years who get referred for coronary angiography to Yale New Haven Hospital and comparing outcomes for patients who receive the standard care with those undergoing the cutting-edge tests to detect coronary microvascular disease or vasospasm. His goal is to show the value of the new tests, already covered by insurance, so they become the standard of care for patients — mostly women — who have reduced blood flow to the heart but no obstruction.

Dr. Samit Shah has seen it too often. Women come to a hospital Emergency Department or doctor’s office complaining of chest pain, shortness of breath, nausea, lightheadedness, jaw pain, or other symptoms considered concerning for a heart problem. The women might undergo standard testing to see if they have a critical cholesterol blockage in their arteries, the hallmark of obstructive coronary artery disease.

Read More »

IHSA Featured on NORD

The International Heart Spasms Alliance (IHSA) has officially been listed on the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) website in their Find a Patient Organization section. NORD is known for its large online database of rare diseases.

IHSA is a global initiative lead by experts through experience, seeking further awareness for serious cardiac conditions. We are patients who are living with coronary vasospasms and microvascular angina, while also working in a collaborative equal partnership with clinicians worldwide. Although both heart conditions are classed as rare, it is believed they are under-recognized by the medical community specializing in NOCAD. More testing is needed to properly diagnose these conditions.

Read More »

New Webinars Series on INOCA

A new webinars series regarding myocardial ischaemia without obstructive coronary disease is now available on the IHSA website. This series of webinars was brought to you by PCRonline and is dedicated to the management of patients with ischemia and non-obstructive coronary artery disease.

The series includes 7 webinars where healthcare professionals discuss together many complex issues to educate others on INOCA.

Read More »

Twenty-Five Worldwide Renowned Cardiologists Give their Support to the IHSA

International Heart Spasms Alliance (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.

We have invited healthcare professionals from around the world to our alliance to work with us in an equal partnership. These are expert cardiologists and healthcare professionals who are interested in learning more about and further researching these NOCAD conditions. Together, we are looking to spread worldwide awareness to help further research and bring faster diagnoses to patients suffering from these often-overlooked heart conditions.

Read More »

IHSA website launch

International Heart Spasms Alliance (IHSA) was founded by a group of four women which had a common goal: to do better. Terri Shumaker, Cindy McCall, Sarah Brown, and Annette Pompa all live in different parts of the world and have never met face-to-face.

Over a period of five years, these women have created and participated in different Facebook support groups which united them in a common purpose. They may have different backgrounds and experiences, but this medical condition appears to be as elusive as a unicorn in fairyland. There is no cookie cutter approach because each person is unique and does not present the same symptoms.

Read More »
Around The World

Real Patient Stories

Arthur’s story

My name is Arthur. I am a Scot but have lived in London for nearly forty years.

In 2014, I had my first heart attack. In the following six years, I went to A&E at least twice a year. Every time, I was sent home and was told it was reflux.

My own doctor in about 2015/16 put me on half an angina pill. When I was in hospital, I was told by the cardiology doctors that I did not need it as I never had angina at all.

Read More »

Barbara’s story

I am a 62-year-old retired physician. My story began at age 47.

I was a very busy practicing OB/Gyn physician who was otherwise healthy.

I was on call at the hospital, and it was turning out to be one of the busiest days I had ever experienced as a physician. I was in a medical group that took call for 24 hours straight, most of the time working the entire 24 hours.

Halfway through that 24-hour call, I was in the operating room doing a C/Section on a patient. Halfway through the surgery I began to feel crushing chest pain.

Read More »

Charlotte’s story

While at work in September 2014, I lost vision of my left eye and had terrible feeling of “heat” all over the left side of my body.

The ER ophthalmologist directed me to cardiology for a vascular problem.

A week later, I could not walk 100 meters (325 feet) without crushing chest pain and shortness of breath.

I was no longer functional. Making my bed was all I could do in a whole day. I was no longer an active 54-year-old.

Read More »

Get Informed

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

Educate. Inform. Enlighten.