From The Straits Times archives: Singapore's longest-surviving heart transplant patient Seah Chiang Nee

SINGAPORE - Veteran journalist Seah Chiang Nee, who was Singapore's longest-surviving heart transplant patient, died on Sunday (Jan 15) at the age of 76.

Mr Seah was the first Singaporean to get a heart transplant 32 years ago. He had his operation in Sydney on Oct 12, 1985, after a rare viral infection damaged his heart.

Here are some stories from The Straits Times archives about Mr Seah's landmark surgery and his journey of survival.


Saved by heart transplant, now he needs new kidney

This story was first published in The Straits Times on July 10, 2007

In an ironic twist of fate, the longevity of South-east Asia’s first and longest-surviving heart transplant patient has contributed to a new health problem for him.

The 10 pills that veteran journalist Seah Chiang Nee has had to take daily for the past 22 years to keep his body from rejecting the transplanted heart have damaged his kidneys.


The medication that South-east Asia’s first and longest-surviving heart transplant patient Seah Chiang Nee has taken for the past 22 years has damaged his kidneys. PHOTO: ST FILE

The drugs, when used long term, can lead to high blood pressure and kidney failure.

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Grateful to be alive

This story was first published in The Straits Times on Oct 13, 2005


'Twenty years is a long time. That's 30 per cent of my whole life,' Mr Seah Chiang Nee said. PHOTO: ST FILE

Mr Seah Chiang Nee's heart is filled with gratitude.

The 65-year-old newspaper veteran became South-east Asia's longest-surviving heart transplant patient yesterday, the 20th anniversary of his landmark surgery.

In contrast to the fanfare surrounding his successful operation at St Vincent's Hospital in Sydney on Oct 12, 1985, yesterday was spent quietly at the Singapore Heart Centre, where he underwent a routine heart scan.

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Back from the brink of death with a new heart

This story was first published in The Straits Times on Nov 19, 1995


'Ink-in-the-veins' journalist Seah Chiang Nee clocks 10 to 12-hour days, churning out work from home for newspapers and radio. PHOTO: ST FILE

The heart that beats the rhythm of life in Mr Seah Chiang Nee's chest came to reside there only 10 years and five weeks ago. Before that, it belonged to an Australian teenager whose life ended in an accident.

It also ended a countdown to death for Mr Seah, who was then hooked up to machines, his body racked by pain, watching in terror at the machine which showed his own heart was barely moving.

Today, the "ink-in-the-veins" journalist, 55, works 10 to 12-hour days, churning out six columns a week (in English and translated into Chinese) for Chinese newspaper Lianhe Zaobao, articles for Malaysian newspaper The Star, and recording his radio programme, A Journalist's Notebook, for One FM 90.5.

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This story was first published in The Straits Times on Sept 8, 1985


This story was first published in The Straits Times on Sept 24, 1985


This story was first published in The Straits Times on Oct 1, 1985


This story was first published in The Straits Times on Oct 13, 1985


This story was first published in The Straits Times on Oct 15, 1985


This story was first published in The Straits Times on Oct 21, 1985


This story was first published in The Straits Times on Oct 24, 1985


This story was first published in The Straits Times on Nov 24, 1985