Home News Break Longest-surviving heart transplant recipient, Bert Janssen recognised by Guinness World Records

Longest-surviving heart transplant recipient, Bert Janssen recognised by Guinness World Records

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Longest-surviving heart transplant recipient, Bert Janssen recognised by Guinness World Records
Longest-surviving heart transplant recipient, Bert Janssen recognised by Guinness World Records

Bert Janssen, the longest-surviving heart transplant patient, has been recognised by Guinness World Records.

“The longest surviving heart transplant patient (male) is Bert Janssen (Netherlands, b. 8 June 1966), who has lived for 39 years and 100 days after receiving his transplant on 6 June 1984, in Harefield, UK as verified on 14 September 2023,” Guinness World Records wrote on its website.

“The surgery was performed by Harefield Hospital (UK) with further care provided by Laurentius Hospital (NL)”.

At the age of 17, Janssen was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, a condition that impacts the heart’s ability to pump blood around the body.

His cardiologist in his home country had ties with Harefield Hospital in London and Magdi Yacoub, the doctor who eventually carried out the operation.

The now 57-year-old Janssen reportedly said the new heart allowed him to quickly return to a good quality of life, playing tennis and volleyball and securing a full-time job.

He said he was still grateful for the incredible gift his donor gave him and hopes his story would be an inspiration to others.

“I could never imagine I will come this far, but nevertheless I always look up to others who had their donor heart longer than I had,” he said.

“It feels like an honour to have reached this milestone, but what I think is most important is that I set a benchmark for others.

“It is now officially proved that it is possible to come this far while having a donor heart.

“I assume the marker will yet move quite a bit further and I will be pleased if others will break my record in due course.”

He married his wife Petra in 1996 and welcomed sons Guido and Ivo in 1996 and 2000 respectively.

Fernando Riesgo Gil, consultant cardiologist and lead of the heart transplantation service at Harefield Hospital, said it is fantastic that one of the hospital’s early transplant patients continues to live such a full and happy life so long after his transplant.

“Blood and Transplant website, there were 7,314 adults on the active transplant waiting list in the UK as of last week Feb. 2, 2024, along with 248 patients under the age of 18. Of the total, some 334 are waiting for hearts,” he said.

“Unfortunately, many of these people will die on the waiting list because we have a shortage of organ donors in this country.

“I hope that Bert’s story serves as an encouragement to the public to consider registering as organ donors, to give the gift of life.”