THE world’s longest-surviving heart transplant patient has reportedly died in the UK at the age of 73, more than three decades after being told he had just five years to live.
JOHN McCafferty underwent the life-saving operation carried out by world-renowned surgeon Sir Magdi Yacoub at Harefield Hospital in Middlesex in 1982.
In 2013 the grandfather surpassed the previous survival record of 30 years, 11 months and 10 days, set by American Tony Huesman, who died in 2009. Mr McCafferty’s wife Ann told the BBC: “The last 30 years we had together were brilliant. We’ve travelled the world. “He took part in the transplant games and did so much. We wouldn’t have been able to do that without the transplant.” Mr McCafferty, from Newport Pagnell, Buckinghamshire, received his new heart on October 20, 1982. 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. After being presented with his Guinness World Record certificate in December 2013 at Harefield, where he continued to have treatment, he said: “At the time of my heart transplant I was told that I might expect to live for another five years if the procedure was a success. The idea that I would live to see my 70s was inconceivable. Yet here I am. “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.”