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Farmer with transplant heart celebrates 17 years of survival
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Yang Yumin, a farmer from the suburbs of Harbin, capital of northeast China's Heilongjiang Province, has been living with a transplanted heart for the last 17 years.

Yang Yumin (L1), celeberates his 17 years of survival after heart transplant.

Yang, 51, is the longest survivor of a heart transplant in China.

A celebration was organized on Sunday at the No. 2 Clinical Hospital attached to Harbin University of Medical Science, where the operation was performed 17 years ago.

Yang contracted ectatic myocarditis in 1989. Before the operation he could neither walk, sit nor lie down, and was at constant risk of heart failure.

Xia Qiuming, a well-known cardiac surgeon, performed the transplant on April 26, 1992. More than 100 doctors worked together, and Yang was received about 1,000 stitches.

The easy-going Yang now has a 16-year-old daughter and operates a small catering business with his wife inside the hospital canteen.

Yang is now in charge of vegetable purchase for the hospital canteen.

"My biggest wish is to live as a normal healthy man," Yang told Xinhua.

Yang said he needs to take medicine each day.

Approximately, 50,000 patients have received heart transplants throughout the world, 76 percent of whom have a survival rate of five years, with the longest survival record being 30 years. The first heart transplant in China was done in Shanghai in 1978.

(Xinhua News Agency April 27, 2009)

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