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Mum on a mission to raise awareness about under-diagnosed heart condition

A mother-of-two from Maidenhead is on a mission to raise awareness about an under-diagnosed heart condition that could have killed her.

Six weeks after giving birth to her son Wills on April 13 last year, 36-year-old Victoria Warnes Elgie began experiencing chest pains.

“I didn’t put myself first, I was thinking about my baby, but when it didn’t go away I went to A&E,” said Victoria, who also has a three-year-old daughter called Olivia.

Doctors found Victoria to be an ‘enigma’ and, as a young and healthy woman, they didn’t think to investigate her heart as cause for concern and sent her home without a diagnosis.

Victoria said: “I privately referred myself in the end to a cardiologist and within 24 hours I was in surgery.”

A CT scan revealed a tear on the main right artery going into Victoria’s heart.

She was suffering from Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection (SCAD) – reportedly the cause of 21–27 per cent of coronary events in pregnancy and 50 per cent of post-partum coronary events.

Within 24 hours she was in surgery followed by a three-month recovery, though she still suffers with chest pain.

Victoria and other SCAD survivors also have to live with the prospect it could happen again.

So Victoria is now working closely with the charity Beat SCAD, which aims to improve diagnosis, support survivors of the condition and raise money for research.

The British Heart Foundation funded the first round of research into SCAD, but Victoria is doing her bit to raise the £25,000 needed to do more and hopes to contribute £6,000 by walking the length of the Jurassic coastline in Dorset with family and friends on July 14.

Moved to support new parents, Victoria obtained a National Arts Council diploma in antenatal education, accredited by the Royal College of Midwives, and has now established Our Baby Club.

She said: “They’re modern antenatal and postnatal classes that really put an emphasis on mum and dad’s wellbeing as well as baby’s.”

Classes are held in Maidenhead and the surrounding areas.

Learn more about SCAD at 

victorias-story/ and the baby club at 

Sponsor Victoria’s Jurassic walk at  

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