A MAN from Ryedale had his own life saved after his identical twin was brought back from the dead following a cardiac arrest.

Jon Bagby,47, who lives in Ryedale, and has an identical twin, James, in Wrexham. James was resuscitated after suffering a heart attack while out running in North Wales.

When consultant preventative cardiologist Dr Scott Murray, now practicing at Venturi Cardiology, an independent heart clinic in Warrington, heard he had an identical twin brother, Jon, he asked to see him too. He carried out a series of tests, including a CT scan of the heart, which allows doctors to see if disease is present, which revealed that he had an identical blood vessel issue as his brother.

James said: “At the time I collapsed I was incredibly lucky because Charlotte Haywood, a trainee nurse, just happened to be heading home and recognised I was in serious difficulty.

“My breathing was very shallow by this stage and then I suddenly stopped breathing altogether. She knew what to do. While she carried out emergency CPR, one of her friends called for help.

“Paramedics defibrillated me and got my heart going then an air ambulance flew me to Bangor Hospital where I spent two days in an induced coma.

“I was transferred to Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital and into the care of Dr Murray. When I told Dr Murray that I was an identical twin he wanted to check my brother out too. Jon, who lives in North Yorkshire with his wife Tamasin and his six-year-old son Isaac, is a keen runner like me and fit and well.

“Dr Murray carried out the same sort of heart health checks he’d done on me – everything from an electrocardiogram (ECG) which checks the heart’s rhythm and electrical activity, an echocardiogram (echo) which checks the pumping function and valves of the heart and blood tests to a cardiac CT test – and the results were life-changing.

“It turns out that Jon and I both share a faulty gene that can’t handle bad cholesterol very well, which results in a build-up of plaque in the arteries, and that he was equally at risk of a cardiac arrest, which could happen at any time.

“Like me, Jon’s now on statins for life to reduce the level of cholesterol made from his liver, an ACE inhibitor and a daily dose of aspirin. We both have annual blood tests, we’re careful to eat healthily and if we go for a run we always take our phones and make sure we’re trackable.

“I’m so thankful to everyone who helped to save my life and I’m incredibly grateful to Dr Murray for saving my twin brother’s life too.”

Dr Murray said: “The investigation of asymptomatic but potentially vulnerable atherosclerosis is not yet a major focus for clinical cardiologists.

“But after learning that James had an identical twin brother, who was also a keen athlete, we thought it was important to carry out a series of investigative tests.

“These revealed he was at the same genetic risk of silent coronary artery disease as his twin and harboured a compositionally identical lesion in a coronary vessel that had not yet ruptured to cause an event.

“Aggressive medical therapy with aspirin, statin and ACE inhibitor was prescribed to protect Jon from a potential primary cardiac event. I feel very strongly that high risk patients, particularly those with a family history of premature myocardial infarction (MI) or death, should be screened with cardiac CT initially, to try and observe any high-risk plaque disease in development.

“This often intensifies both the preventative medical treatment and lifestyle advice that can be given. It also sends out a clear warning signal to the patient that they have coronary artery disease despite showing no symptoms. Forewarned is forearmed and it is great to hear that this has been sustained and they are both still well to this day.”

Jon is fit and well and completed the Castle Howard half marathon at the weekend.