Lawyer James Bagby suffered a heart attack while running, but the traumatic event saved his twin brother’s life.
The 47-year-old, from Wrexham, had left for a 10-mile run on the first morning of a two-week family vacation when he collapsed on a very hot summer day.
A passing nurse performed CPR on the side of the road and he woke up in the hospital two days later.
And when the cardiologist who treated him learned that James had an identical twin brother, Jon, he asked to see him too.
Consultant preventive cardiologist Dr Scott Murray, now practicing at Venturi Cardiology, performed a series of tests, including a CT scan of the heart – which allows doctors to see if the disease is present. And the test revealed that Jon had a blood vessel problem identical to his brother’s.
James said: âOn the first morning of a two week family vacation to our favorite place in Porthmadog, Wales I decided to do a 10 mile run.
âAfter finishing the Paris Marathon earlier in the year I was training for the Dublin Marathon and a quick run along Black Rock Sands seemed like a good idea.
âI left my wife Paula and my two young daughters Hannah and Sophie in our trailer, programmed my smartwatch with a running route and set off. I didn’t expect to be away for long. “
But it was a very hot day and James was eight miles from his run when he collapsed.
âWhen I got to the beach the tide was high so I had to run in another way which took me up a big hill. I was 8 miles from my run and remember it was a very hot day. It was so hot that I later learned that two servicemen had died during training exercises in the Brecon Beacons that week, âhe said. âI don’t remember much of what happened next because I didn’t wake up in the hospital until two days later.
âAt one point, as I was struggling on the climb and feeling very dehydrated, I collapsed on the side of the road. I don’t know how long I lay there before I was spotted.
âBut I was incredibly lucky because Charlotte Haywood, a nurse intern at the time at Malpas, was just returning home after camping overnight on the beach with friends when she admitted I was in serious trouble.
âMy breathing was very shallow at this point, then I suddenly stopped breathing completely. She knew what to do. While performing emergency CPR, a friend of hers called for help.
âParamedics defibrillated me and made my heart beat, then an air ambulance transported me to Bangor hospital where I spent two days in an induced coma.â
Back at the trailer, Paul frantically wondered where her husband was and called the police after hearing the air ambulance land nearby.
âHe was told that they had picked up a man who matched my description and were waiting to find out more. She feared the worst, âJames said. ” And for good reason. Although it was initially unclear what caused my cardiac arrest, doctors initially thought that my heart had just stopped and that I might need a pacemaker fitting – once I was transferred to Liverpool Heart. & Chest Hospital and placed in the care of Dr Scott Murray, he gave me another round of tests.
âHe did a CT coronary angiogram, an invasive angiogram with ultrasound inside the artery to look at my plaque and a detailed MRI.
âDr. Murray explained to me that as heart disease progresses, the level of plaque and calcium in the vessel walls increases, so this can be a great indicator of disease and can be seen very well on CT scans.
âMy blood tests confirmed that I had high levels of bad cholesterol, which had a role to play in why I had plaque in my arteries. Running on such a hot day, exacerbated by the dehydration, had caused some plaque to rupture and my heart to stop.
âI was prescribed an ACE (angiotensin converting enzyme) inhibitor, a high dose statin and aspirin and after two weeks in hospital I was sent home to recover. . I didn’t really need a stent because the residual shrinkage was not severe enough.
âMy life had been saved, but that was not all. When I told Dr Murray that I was an identical twin, he also wanted to see my brother. “
Jon, who was living in Turkey at the time with his wife Tamasin and six-year-old son Isaac, was an avid runner like James and was in good physical shape.
But Dr Murray wanted to see him and performed the same kind of heart checkups he had done on James – everything from an electrocardiogram (ECG) that checks heart rate and electrical activity, to an echocardiogram (echo). which checks the function of the heart’s pumping and valves and blood tests in a CT heart test.
The results were life changing.
James explains, âIt turns out that Jon and I both share a faulty gene that can’t handle bad cholesterol very well, which leads to plaque build-up in the arteries, and it was also at risk of cardiac arrest. . , which can happen at any time.
“Her” bad “LDL cholesterol was very high, at eight – anything above 3mmol / L often leads to recommend statins – and there was a 51% plaque blockage in her arteries, similar to my levels, and putting him at high risk for restricting blood flow to the heart, which increases the risk of a heart attack.He had no symptoms.
âWhat I had been through was bad enough, but hearing that my twin also risked the same happening to him was appalling.
“I will always remember the words of Dr Murray when he said, after all the tests, that Jon is in a much better position now because he knows he has a problem and that something can be done about it.” remedy. More often than not, you don’t know there is something wrong until you are in an ambulance on your way to the hospital, like me.
âLike me, Jon now takes statins for life to lower the level of cholesterol his liver makes, an ACE inhibitor and a daily dose of aspirin. We both have annual blood tests, we make sure to eat healthy and if we go for a run, we always take our phones and make sure we are trackable.
“I’m so grateful to everyone who helped save my life and I’m incredibly grateful to Dr Murray for saving my twin brother’s life as well.”
Dr Murray, from Venturi cardiology, said: “Investigating asymptomatic but potentially vulnerable atherosclerosis is not yet a major goal for clinical cardiologists.
âBut after learning that James had an identical twin brother, who was also an avid athlete, we felt it was important to perform a series of investigative tests.
âForewarned has forearms and it’s great to hear that that has been maintained and that they are both still doing well to this day. “
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