London, Dec. 25 (PTI): A British man has become the world’s longest-surviving heart transplant patient after undergoing the life-saving operation 31 years ago.
John McCafferty, 71, has surpassed the previous Guinness World Record of 30 years, 11 months and 10 days set by Tony Huesman, an American, who died in 2009.
McCafferty was told he had five years to live when he underwent the operation at Harefield Hospital in Middlesex on 20 October, 1982.
He was presented with his Guinness World Record certificate at the hospital, where he continues to have treatment, The Mirror tabloid reported.
McCafferty, from Newport Pagnell, Buckinghamshire, hopes his record would act as an “inspiration” to patients awaiting transplants. “The idea that I would live to see my 70s was inconceivable. Yet here I am,” he said.
“I want this world record to be an inspiration to anyone awaiting a heart transplant and to those who, like me, have been fortunate enough to have had one. “My advice is always to be hopeful, to look ahead with a positive mind, and, of course, to follow the expert medical advice,” he added.
McCafferty had been diagnosed, aged 39, with dilated cardiomyopathy — one of the most common causes of heart failure. It leads to scarring of the heart wall and damage to the muscle, which causes the heart to become weakened and enlarged, preventing it from pumping effici- ently.
Andre Simon, director of transplantation at Royal Brompton and Harefield National Health Service Foundation Trust, said: “John’s achievement is remarkable and shows just what can be gained through transplantation. “The fact that he has become a world record holder should act as motivation to those awaiting life-saving transplants and to those who have received the gift of a new organ,” Simon said.