MN man is longest-living male heart recipient in U.S.

When the world’s first heart transplant was performed in 1967, it felt very much like news that the Wright Brothers had flow something called an airplane.

Taking a heart from one person and putting it another? Unfathomable.

Lewis Washkansky, of South Africa, died of pneumonia 18 days later. That led to an improvement in anti-rejection drugs and technique. By the ’70s, people were living up to five years after receiving a heart.

Science does things and now, assuming there’s a donor, someone getting a heart transplant isn’t a temporary fix to grab a few more years.

Robbie Grendahl, of Wadena, Minn., was 15 when he got his heart transplant. On Saturday, he was honored as the longest living male heart recipient in the nation, honored over at the weekend by the University of Minnesota Medical School, KARE 11 says. He got his in 1986.

Somewhere out there is a person who made the decision to donate a heart who also deserves recognition.

Every 10 minutes, someone is added to the list of people waiting for a heart transplant Every day, 20 people die waiting for one.

(h/t: Jay Sieling)

  • jon

    one every ten minutes, that’s like 144 a day, 20 die a day, that’s only 14% of those who were added to the list any given day…
    Plenty of room for interpretation on those numbers, and still plenty of room for improvement regardless of how they are interpreted (a chicken in every pot and a working heart in every chest cavity).

    But still it tells a tale when taken in context of the miracle of being able to put a heart in someone’s chest and have it work in ’67 means we are doing pretty damn amazing a mear 50 years on… artificial hearts (engineered or grown) as a standard of care are probably going to happen in my lifetime… it will be nice when we don’t need to tell people to be organ donors any more because there is a surplus of readily available organs (grown or engineered) ready for transplant.

  • Barton

    I wish that the donor box on the DL was the default. So if you didn’t want to donate your organs, you had to opt out. Many more lives could be improved by just that small change…

    • jon

      It baffles me personally why some one wouldn’t opt to be a donor…

      As I’ve said before, once I’ve shuffled off this mortal coil strip it for parts, do any research, science, and/or training necessary on it, and dispose of it in the cheapest way possible at the time… why would I care, I’m done with this chunk of meat, anything that is left is for the living to do with as they please. (I mean the living should stay classy about it… no weekend at bernies stuff, or anything weird… but the living have a way of staying just as classy as civilization requires them too, so I’m not too worried.)

      • ec99

        I’d be happy to donate my heart, stents and all. But who’d want it? Same with blood. Byrlinta turned it to water.

        • Joseph

          Scientists may want it to help improve heart science even more 🙂

      • Postal Customer

        You can opt to be a donor. However, sometimes that decision must be made by family, and certain circumstances can make donation the wrong path.

  • ec99

    Medical advances have been amazing. My dad died 41 years ago of a heart attack at 62. All they had then were transplants, and his doctor said he would never survive the operation.

    Fast forward. I had one 2 years ago. Left ventricular arteries 90 and 99% occluded. I actually died in the ER. Two stents later, and here I am, still ticking.