A 57-year-old Dutchman has broken the world record for the longest surviving heart transplant patient.
Bert Janssen has lived for 39 years with a donor heart, which he received at Harefield Hospital in the northwest of the country. London in 1984.
This feat has now been recognized by Guinness World Records.
Mr Janssen developed flu-like symptoms and was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, a disease which affects the heart’s ability to pump blood throughout the body, when he was 17.
No heart transplant has ever been performed in the The Netherlandsbut Mr Janssen’s cardiologist had links to Harefield and transplant pioneer Professor Sir Magdi Yacoub, who ultimately carried out the operation when Mr Janssen was 18.
His transplant was the 107th carried out in Harefield. Sir Magdi completed the first in 1980 and the hospital has completed thousands since then.
Mr Janssen recalled: “It all happened very quickly. Only a week after arriving in Harefield, two hearts became available following a serious car accident in London.
“I had a match with one of them and the heart was transplanted. Like [his cardiologist] Dr. Mattart told me about 30 years later that it must have been the perfect marriage.”
Mr Janssen said his new heart had allowed him to “quickly return to a good quality of life”, play tennis and volleyball and obtain full-time employment.
He married his wife Petra in 1996, had his sons Guido and Ivo in 1996 and 2000 respectively and is today a glider enthusiast.
Mr Janssen added: “One of my proudest achievements was, with my wife Petra and both our parents, building our own house brick by brick.”
Dr Fernando Riesgo Gil, Consultant Cardiologist and Head of the Heart Transplant Service at Harefield Hospital, said: “It is fantastic news to learn that one of our first transplant patients at Harefield is continuing to live such a life. full and so happy so long after her transplant. “
According to NHS data, as of February 2, there were 7,314 adults on the active transplant waiting list in the UK, as well as 248 patients under the age of 18.
Some 334 are waiting for hearts.
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“Unfortunately, many of these people will die on the waiting list due to a shortage of organ donors in this country,” Dr. Gil warned.
“I hope Bert’s story will encourage the public to consider registering as an organ donor, to give the gift of life.”
Mr Janssen said he was “forever grateful for the incredible gift” his donor gave him and hopes his story will be an inspiration to others.
“I never imagined I would make it this far, but nevertheless I always admired those who had their donor hearts longer than me,” he said.
“It’s an honor to have reached this milestone, but what I think most importantly is that I have set a benchmark for others. It is now officially proven that it is possible to get this far far while having a donor heart.
“I guess the marker will move a little further and I will be happy if others beat my record in due time.”