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Postpartum spontaneous dissection of the first obtuse marginal branch of the left circumflex coronary artery causing acute coronary syndrome: a case report and literature review

Khurram Shahzad*, Long Cao, Quara Tul Ain, Jennifer Waddy, Nawazish Khan and Rajasekhar Nekkanti

  • * Corresponding author: Khurram Shahzad

  • † Equal contributors

Author Affiliations

Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Cardiology, East Carolina University, Brody School of Medicine, 600 Moye Boulevard, Greenville NC 27834, USA

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Journal of Medical Case Reports 2013, 7:82  doi:10.1186/1752-1947-7-82

Published: 19 March 2013



Spontaneous coronary artery dissection is a rare but important cause of acute coronary syndrome. It can cause unstable angina, acute myocardial infarction, and sudden death. The condition commonly affects young females with about one-third of the cases occurring during pregnancy and the peripartum period. The diagnosis may occasionally be overlooked as the patients are often young and have no risk factors for coronary artery disease.

Case presentation

Here we report the case of a 29-year-old African American woman who presented with acute coronary syndrome due to spontaneous dissection of the first obtuse marginal branch of the left circumflex coronary artery at three weeks post-partum and recovered requiring only medical management, possibly by longitudinal distribution of the intramural hematoma leading to good distal flow.


Spontaneous coronary artery dissection should be suspected in all young multiparous females presenting with chest pain in the peripartum period even in the absence of risk factors. Urgent diagnosis by angiography is required. It is recommended that treatment should be tailored to meet individual circumstances. Patients who present with single-vessel disease and hemodynamic stability, and who receive medical treatment with anticoagulation, nitrates and a beta-blocker, should experience good results.