DETROIT – Longtime sports broadcasters and former Detroit Lions general manager Matt Millen is recovering from a life-saving heart transplant.
Millen was battling a rare heart disease, amyloidosis. According to the Mayo Clinic, Amyloidosis (am-uh-loi-DO-sis) is a rare disease that occurs when a substance called amyloid builds up in your organs. Amyloid is an abnormal protein that is produced in your bone marrow and can be deposited in any tissue or organ.
Amyloidosis can affect different organs in different people, and there are different types of amyloid. Amyloidosis frequently affects the heart, kidneys, liver, spleen, nervous system and digestive tract. Severe amyloidosis can lead to life-threatening organ failure. There’s no cure for amyloidosis.
After six months, Millen got his heart transplant, saving his life. The heart came from a 26-year-old man who died of a drug overdose.
Millen talked to NBC’s Peter King after the life-saving procedure.
“I have not been spared for nothing,” Millen said. “I feel like I have more of a purpose now—I just have to find out what it is. I’ve got to figure out what my Holy Grail is for the rest of my life. I can’t waste this opportunity.
I know I am lucky to be here. When my doctor took out my heart, he saw how much it was damaged. It was awful. He said I must have tremendous reserve from training. That thing was so stiff and hard the doc didn’t know how it was still contracting to pump the blood.”
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