Arizona heart transplant recipient encouraging others to give the gift of life

"Be positive" is a young Arizona man’s motto' and it is appropriate for a number of reasons.

Musa Sayegh has that exact blood type, and that motto helped him get through some of the darkest days of his life.

With every step and every curl, Sayegh is thankful.

"Thanks to the doctors, thanks to the nurses, thanks to the donor, oh my God, the donor," Sayegh said. "Bless him and his family for giving me the opportunity to live."

In 2017, Sayegh was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy and needed a defibrillator implanted. Recently, he was diagnosed with sudden cardiac death.

"Sudden cardiac death is where you have a heart rhythm problem where you lose consciousness, and if it’s not addressed, it can actually be a life-ending event for a patient," Dr. Lisa Lemond said.

Dr. Lemond is a transplant cardiologist at Mayo Clinic in Phoenix. It’s where the 33-year-old went after passing out in April.

"I got shocked about 20-30 times, according to some of my doctors, from my defibrillator," Sayegh said. "Doctors were telling me I coded."

Sayegh needed a transplant. The medical team decided to intubate him, and machines would keep him alive as they waited for a heart.

"While he was asleep, we listed him for heart transplant, and we were able to get him an organ later, and he woke up with a heart transplant," Dr. Lemond said.

A donor who was a perfect match died within the week, and that meant that Sayegh got to live.

"Once I realized I had a new heart I was like, wow I have a new heart?," Sayegh said. "Then, all I felt after that was, like, I felt it beating. It was beating so hard, so hard. I could feel it throughout my whole body. Something I've never felt before. Really."

Sayegh feels healthy. He’s dropped 25 pounds, and his wedding is fast approaching. The new heart has truly been a new start.

"He's doing really, really well," Dr. Lemond said. "So even though heart transplant sounds like a big surgery, scary endeavor, our success rate of getting patients safely through transplant are incredibly high."

Sayegh takes about 30 pills a day, and will likely be on medication for the rest of his life, but it’s a life he's grateful to be living. In the future, Sayegh and his fiancé would love to meet the family of the donor to say thank you in person. They also encourage people to sign up to become a donor.

Donate Life Arizona

Done Vida Arizona (Donate Life Arizona's website in Spanish)