Man receives life-saving heart transplant thanks to medical advancements

NEW YORK (WABC) -- A shift in the medical field is helping save the lives of transplant recipients, including a man who needed a new heart.

Anthony Cosentino is doling out hugs for a doctor who saved his life a year ago.

"The pain just didn't stop, it got worse," Cosentino said.

That pain was a massive heart attack.

"In the past, heart attacks like this were a death sentence," Dr. Frank Tamburrino.

The cardiologist from Staten Island University Hospital got to work and inserted an impella device to get Cosentino's blood flowing.

HEART WARMING | 3-year-old friends who battled cancer together reunite for the 1st time
EMBED More News Videos

"No matter what, just look to the children because they'll lead the way," Payson's mother said.



"One or two times during insertion until we this in to stabilize him ... he codes and we have to resuscitate him and shock him to bring him back," Tamburrino said.

But Cosentino's heart was so badly damaged, he needed a heart transplant.

The wait could be long, but he was offered a heart with Hepatitis C, a virus which can be contracted through needle sharing and IV drug use. A heart, that until recently, would have been considered too risky to use.

"Now that we have since 2014, medications that lead to a 95-100% cure rate for Hepatitis C it allowed us to use these organs and it has really changed the transplant world," said Dr. Samit Shah, a heart transplant surgeon at Sandra Atlas Bass Heart Hospital.

Cosentino received the heart and the medications worked. He's free of Hepatitis C.

ALSO READ | Warning about fentanyl laced cocaine after rash of overdoses on Long Island
EMBED More News Videos

Kristin Thorne has more on the rash of overdoses from fentanyl-laced cocaine on Long Island.



"I don't know who the person was, but it was somebody, and their suffering basically gave me life," Cosentino.

A life that's starting to look more and more like the one he had.

"I lived an active life, I play ball, I ski in the wintertime, I golf -- those are all the things driving me because I want to be back to all of that," Cosentino said.

He's a 51-year-old father of three, who knows someone else's tragedy allowed for his life saving transplant.


----------
* Get Eyewitness News Delivered
* More New York City news
* Send us a news tip
* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts
* Follow us on YouTube
Submit a News Tip
Copyright © 2021 WABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.