Remotely-Delivered Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for SCAD Survivors: Study Protocol for an Open Pilot Trial

Maria Lopes, BA

Massachusetts General Hospital – Clinical Research Coordinator
Luberto_Christina poster

Scientific Abstract


Spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD) is an important cause of cardiac events. Approximately half of SCAD survivors struggle with anxiety and fear of recurrence (FOR), contributing to poor sleep and physical inactivity. We adapted Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (UpBeat-MBCT) for group videoconferencing delivery to target FOR, sleep, and physical activity in SCAD survivors.


In this open pilot trial, participants will be asked to attend eight weekly 1.5-hour sessions of UpBeat-MBCT delivered via group videoconference, which combines cognitive-behavioral therapy, mindfulness meditation, and cardiac health behavior promotion. Assessments will include surveys of psychological (e.g., body awareness, attention regulation, cognitive decentering, distress tolerance, interoceptive bias, intolerance of uncertainty, FOR severity) and behavioral variables (e.g., sleep and physical activity outcomes) at baseline and post-intervention; daily diaries of abbreviated survey measures 1-2 weeks pre-post intervention; and actigraphy monitoring of physical activity and sleep patterns for 7 days pre-post the intervention. Exit interviews will assess likes, dislikes, and suggestions for improvement.


Recruitment launched in October 2021 and enrollment for the first group was completed in five weeks (n=9). Data collection is ongoing. The primary outcomes are feasibility and acceptability. Feasibility outcomes include feasibility of enrollment, retention, survey completion, actigraphy use, UpBeat-MBCT attendance, and videoconferencing delivery. Acceptability outcomes include ease of completion for surveys and actigraphy, home practice engagement, and program satisfaction. Exploratory outcomes include changes in psychological and behavioral variables and their inter-correlations.


This project is the first and only mindfulness intervention for SCAD survivors and will help inform the development of targeted treatments for this vulnerable group. Results will provide preliminary data for an NIH Stage II efficacy trial to develop an accessible, scalable, and efficacious intervention.

Live Zoom Session – March 9th

research Areas


Christina Luberto, PhD, Maria Lopes, BA, Ariel Brathwaite, Malissa Wood, MD, Daniel Hall, PhD, Zev Schuman-Olivier, MD, Bettina Hoeppner, PhD, Elyse Park, PhD

Principal Investigator

Christina Luberto, PhD