Longest surviving heart transplant patient dies at 73

11th February 2016

The world's longest-surviving heart transplant John McCafferty has died, more than 33 years after his operation.

John, who had had dilated cardiomyopathy and was a Cardiomyopathy UK supporter, was given his transplant in October 1982 at Harefield Hospital by heart surgeon Professor Magdi Yacoub, a patron of our charity.

His widow Ann said: "The last 30 years we had together were brilliant. We've travelled the world."

John wrote his cardiomyopathy story for Cardiomyopathy UK’s magazine several years ago, and an update when he became The Guinness World Record longest surviving transplant patient in November 2013. He hoped it would be an inspiration to others with cardiomyopathy.

From Newport Pagnell in Buckinghamshire, John died at Milton Keyes Hospital on Tuesday aged 73. He had been diagnosed with cardiomyopathy when he was 39. Because transplant medicine was still in its infancy, doctors told him to expect to live for around five years.

At the time of getting in the record books he said: “None of this would have been possible had it not been for my unselfish donor and his family. They are just as much part of this story, if not more, in me receiving this award and I will forever be indebted to them."

John said he was always determined not to dwell on his transplant but to get back to fitness, enjoying swimming, training for marathons and taking part in the British and European Transplant Games.

He had taken early retirement because of ill health never imagining he would live into his seventies. So after a full year off, he joined the IT department at Milton Keynes Hospital where he worked for 19 years.

He said his greatest present had been seeing his son grow up, get married and have a son of his own.