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Smart Woman: Female Doctor Survives Heart Attack

<font size=2>A San Antonio doctor is celebrating an anniversary. It's been one year since her life threatening heart attack. She's using her crisis to educate others about the number one health threat for women.</font>
As a UT medicine ob-gyn, Dr. Kristen Plastino helps keep women healthy. One year ago, her life was at risk. She started having crushing chest pain and realized she needed immediate medical attention.

Plastino said, "I thought I was having a heart attack. But thinking I was 41, healthy weight, no high blood pressure, no high cholesterol, no family history, how could this be happening to me?"

Plastino went to University Hospital and doctors rushed her to the cath lab, first for angioplasty and then the placement of four stents.The problem she had was blockage of flow. In her case, it wasn't a blood clot. It was the artery separated and falling in on itself. It wasn't open, but the treatment is the same.

Six weeks in the ICU and ten weeks of cardiac rehab later, Plastino emerged with moderate heart damage. She's returned to work full time where her co-workers celebrated one year since her brush with death. Life for this mother of four, though, has changed.

"I was going pretty hard before the heart attack. I was working probably 80 to 100 hours a week," said Plastino.

"Not that it's good to have a heart attack, but I think it really opened my eyes. I really think it was a sign to slow down," she said.

Plastino has been very public about her life saving experience. She's featured on billboards and videos as part of University Health System's "Living Proof" campaign.

Plastino is just happy to be alive.

Her doctors say plastino was probably 20 minutes from death when she arrived at the hospital. Too many times, they say, women tend to dismiss heart attack symptoms as muscle pain or indigestion.

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