Former UAB patient named longest survivor of double heart valve replacement by Guinness World Records

A glimpse of his life. (Seth Wharton)

In 1990, Seth Wharton received a life-saving double heart valve replacement at UAB Hospital. Now, more than 30 years later, Guinness World Records has verified that Seth is the longest-living survivor of an artificial double heart valve replacement. Keep reading to learn more about Seth and his experience at UAB. 

About Seth Wharton

Sick kid inside Former UAB patient named longest survivor of double heart valve replacement by Guinness World Records
UAB—the home to amazing cardiologists. (Seth Wharton)

Born in Maryland, Seth Wharton began experiencing heart problems when he was just four days old. At the local hospital in Maryland, doctors discovered that Seth had an enlarged heart. Doctors performed a procedure to repair Seth’s narrow heart valve when he was only one month old. 

Five years later, Seth was referred to UAB for an aortic valvotomy to widen his heart valves. At 11, Seth returned to UAB for a double heart valve replacement. The procedure was performed by Albert D. Pacifico, M.D., a cardiothoracic surgeon at UAB at the time. 

FUN FACT: According to UAB, by 2006, Pacifico performed over 28,000 cardiovascular surgeries on patients of all ages, leaving a legacy of increased patient safety and reduced hospital stays.

Although his parents were afraid he wouldn’t be able to have a normal teen experience, Seth bounced back by earning his black belt in karate, playing basketball and winning an award for being the most courageous athlete. Go champ!

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His UAB story

Look at him now! (Seth Wharton)

By the age of 13, Seth Wharton had undergone three open-heart surgeries, six cardiac catheterizations, five blood clots and two valve replacements. Despite these taxing procedures, Seth was able to live his life as normally as possible. On April 27th, 2021, Seth was named the Longest Survivor of an Artificial Double Heart Valve Replacement at the age of 31 years and 238 days by Guinness World Records. Amazing!

“To live this long after a double heart-valve replacement is a remarkable outcome for Mr. Wharton. Cases like Mr. Wharton’s are the reason our cardiothoracic surgeons work to provide the best possible care to each of our patients. We are happy to hear that he is doing well.”

James Davies, MD, UAB Cardiovascular Institute and Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, director

Thanks to the dutiful work of UAB and Albert D. Pacifico, M.D., Wharton can successfully live his life as a husband, father of four and hospice chaplain at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center of Western Maryland.

“I am just so thankful that God spared my life and for the role that UAB played in that. I am living proof that you can have a full life after this procedure, and I hope people can find comfort in that.”

Seth Wharton

Do you have an inspirational UAB Hospital story that you want to share? Tag us @BhamNow to let us know.

Summer Guffey
Summer Guffey

Art enthusiast and expert on all things tea.

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