Melton woman wins ‘heart hero’ award for research into rare condition

Melton woman Rebecca Breslin with her award and husband Liam

Melton woman Rebecca Breslin with her award and husband Liam

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A Melton woman has been named a ‘heart hero’ at a regional awards ceremony for acquiring research into her own rare heart condition.

Rebecca Breslin (38) has been recognised for securing funding into research for the under-diagnosed heart condition Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection (SCAD).

Rebecca was named the winner in the innovation category at the British Heart Foundation’s Heart Hero Awards 2016 on Wednesday (June 29). The annual awards acknowledge and celebrate exceptional contributions in the fight against heart disease.

SCAD is a rare, yet devastating condition predominantly affecting young, healthy women where the layers which form the coronary vessels of the heart tear away from each other. As a result, blood can collect between the vessel layers forming a blood blister which restricts or blocks blood flow to the heart and can lead to a SCAD heart attack. SCAD can often occur in women just before or just after giving birth.

Following a heart attack in 2012 Rebecca did her own research into SCAD and found there was very little information available about her condition.

She worked with her consultant Dr David Adlam and together they built a strong funding support case to the British Heart Foundation and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), which supports research for the benefit of patients and the economy.

The UK’s first SCAD research programme was launched and the bid to find 100 participants started.

Rebecca said: “It was so humbling to find out that I had won the award and I was hugely surprised. I think my fellow nominees were just as deserving so it was a huge honour to be in the category with them and a huge bonus to win it.

“I feel winning the award is a huge achievement for the whole team who has been involved in securing the funding which is being carried out by the NIHR Leicester Cardiovascular Biomedical Research Unit at Glenfield Hospital.”

Dr Adlam said: “We are over the moon that Rebecca’s hard work has been recognised. The SCAD study has shown the magic of patient involvement in action.

“The work Rebecca and the other SCAD survivors have done is incredible and is hugely important in helping us to understand the complexity of the condition and how we can work towards treatment.”

Rebecca used national publicity, social media promotion and events to spread the word. So far 80 people have been scanned as part of the research and a further 450 people are waiting to take part.

For more information about the UK patient-led charity Beat SCAD, which Rebecca launched, visit http://beatscad.org.uk