Rare heart condition more likely to affect young women

Cardiac specialists, like Deb Sybrant, are growing more concerned about a condition affecting a higher number of young women.?

MISSOULA, Mont. - Doctors are discovering that one type of heart condition is not as rare as once thought.

They say plaque buildup in the arteries can cause most heart attacks.

However, the International Heart Institute of Montana says Montana has seen three cases so far, of a different threat, called sudden cardiac artery dissection.

"There's a dissection of the coronary artery. The coronary artery is made up of three different layers. When there's a dissection, there's actually a splitting of those layers. When that occurs, the blood is no longer able to transfer through the normal opening. It goes through what we call a false lumen. When the blood goes through a false lumen, it doesn't give the heart the blood supply it needs and it causes a heart attack, said cardiology specialist, Deb Sybrant.

The International Heart Institute of Montana says this condition is especially effecting young women.

"In this particular case, women especially are prone to a new type of heart attack that we thought was quite rare. What we are finding out, is that is it not rare. We know there's a higher incidence in this in women in the first two months after they have delivered a baby. This has been reported in women as young as 19," said Sybrant.

The International Heart Institute says much more research is needed to see how to best treat this condition, and that the numbers may go up as doctors get better at diagnosing it.

No matter how old or young you are, doctors warn you to get immediate medical attention if you have crushing chest pain, shortness of breath, sense of impending doom and unusual back or abdominal pain.