Kiwi man keeps his 'huge' heart in the freezer following transplant

News 28/02/2019

A New Zealand man has admitted to keeping his heart in the freezer after receiving a new one via transplant in 2018.

The man, who told Magic Talk Drive with Ryan Bridge his name is Daniel, said he was ready to die from complications with his heart when he was put on the transplant list.

"[I] ended up going down from Taranaki, down south to do some gold panning, cardiac arrested in the Buller River, wasn't going to make it, ended up at Nelson Hospital," he said.

"But I got through it and they said, 'You're a perfect candidate for a transplant,' so they wrote the letter and I got accepted."

The 55-year-old said he feels so much better now, and almost the age of his donor, who was 26.

Asked about the importance of organ donation, Daniel revealed he's holding onto his old ticker.

"I'll give mine - I don't think they'll be very good, but I'm so grateful. I've got my old heart in the freezer."

Bridge was shocked, and asked him to explain.

"They said you can keep it for medical reasons or you can ask for it back, so I got it back and it's amazing how big it is - no wonder I was so breathless," Daniel replied.

He said it's a reminder of just how sick he was before getting the transplant.

"It is pretty amazing, it's huge. I googled - a standard 55-year-old male heart's about 350g apparently, mine was 2.8kg, so she was pretty big."  

Daniel said he would support New Zealand moving to an opt-out rather than opt-in system for organ donation, similar to what is proposed for the United Kingdom, but we need more surgeons to perform the operations.