Guinness World Record for heart transplant patient
- 24 December 2013
- From the section Health
A British man has entered the record books as the world's longest-surviving heart transplant patient.
John McCafferty, 71, has surpassed the previous Guinness World Record of 30 years, 11 months and 10 days set by an American man who died in 2009.
Mr McCafferty was told he had five years to live when he underwent the life-saving operation at Harefield Hospital in Middlesex 31 years ago.
He says his record should give hope to others awaiting transplants.
Mr McCafferty, from Newport Pagnell in Buckinghamshire, 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."
Mr McCafferty received his new heart on 20 October 1982 in a procedure carried out by world-renowned surgeon Sir Magdi Yacoub.
He 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 efficiently.
The first ever successful heart transplant operation was performed in South Africa in 1967 by Prof Christiaan Neethling Barnard and a team of 30 physicians at the Groote Schuur Hospital, Cape Town. The patient, Louis Washkansky, survived for 18 days with the new heart.