SCAD usually presents with symptoms of chest pain, commonly described as heaviness or pressure, possibly with radiation to the neck or arms, and associated with shortness of breath, nausea and vomiting.

During your evaluation, your doctor will review your medical history, symptoms, and concerns. She will listen to your heart and lungs and observe your physical appearance. You will also need several, possibly all, of the following tests:

  • Electrocardiogram (EKG): A test that records the electrical activity of your heart.
  • Echocardiogram (“Echo”): A type of imaging that produces video images of your beating heart using ultrasound. This test can provide vital information about the thickness and function of your heart.
  • Chest X-ray: Another type of imaging that shows the size and shape of your heart.
  • Cardiac MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging): Also a type of imaging, Cardiac MRI uses powerful, but safe, magnets to create pictures of your heart that compliments the echocardiogram.
  • Cardiac Computed Tomography Angiogram (CTA): This type of imaging uses CT technology and intravenous contrast material to create very detailed images of the heart and its blood vessels.
  • Intravascular Ultrasound or Optical Coherence Tomography: This is an advanced technique performed at the time of the angiogram that allows us to image the inner wall of the artery in great detail, particularly important in patients with suspected SCAD.
  • Genetic Testing: A blood test that looks at your DNA for errors, or mutations. Your doctor may also recommend genetic testing and counseling for your family members.

More About Tests for SCAD

electroencephalography EEG


An electrocardiogram is a procedure that records the electrical activity of the heart.



An echocardiogram (echo for short) is a cardiac ultrasound that helps assess heart conditions.


Cardiac MRI

Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (Cardiac MRI) is an MRI for your heart. It uses powerful magnets to create pictures of the heart and coronary arteries.


Genetic Testing

Genetic testing is a blood test that looks for errors, or mutations, in your DNA and genes.