The four longest surviving heart transplant patients in Asia celebrated the 15th anniversary of their surgery at the Cheng Hsin Rehabilitation Medical Center yesterday.
Lisa Lee, 38, the longest survivor among the four said that she cherishes each day of her life and that maintaining an optimistic and upbeat attitude was her formula for staying healthy.
“When I arrived at the emergency room, I was in shock and had almost lost consciousness,”Lee said, recalling her condition before the heart transplant
“Now, I lead a very normal life. I go hiking and travel outside of the country frequently. I try my best to live each day to the fullest,”Lee added.
Wei Jeng, the attending heart surgeon said the four survivors are living proof of the advancement of Taiwan's medical technology.
Since 1987, Taiwan doctors have performed more than 550 heart transplants. In the last eight years, over 257, or 46.7 percent of all the heart transplant operations were done at Cheng Hsin Rehabilitation Medical Center.
Wei said the success rate for heart transplants in Taiwan far surpasses international records.
According to the International Society of Heart and Lung Transplantation, the survival rate for recipients past the 15-year mark is 29 percent, while in Taiwan it is 50 percent.