TUESDAY, Feb. 23, 2021 (American Heart Association News) — As identical twins who look alike, sound alike and even have the same mannerisms, Patricia Wood and Pamela Smith are used to people mistaking them for one another. Even before birth, their heartbeats were so perfectly synchronized that doctors didn’t realize there were two until the day they were born 62 years ago.
“Pat was so competitive, she had to go first,” Pam said.
“Pam pushed me out to see if it was dangerous,” Pat chimed in, chuckling.
Heart disease runs in their family – their father died of a heart attack when they were 3. So, aware they might be at higher risk, the sisters made a choice in their 20s to stay fit and eat healthy, selecting, for example, organic chicken and steamed vegetables over fried foods and red meat.
Because of that vigilance, when Pat woke up early one morning in 2019 with a debilitating pressure high in her chest, she considered many things that might be causing it – and a heart attack wasn’t among them.
At their local hospital, a blood test detected a protein called troponin in Pat’s blood – a sign of a heart attack. So, they sent her by critical care ambulance to a nearby hospital that had a cardiac catheterization lab. There, doctors discovered a 100% blockage in a major coronary artery…