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Transplant patient contemplates her heart in London Museum

Jennifer Sutton got her first look at the heart that could have killed her.

Three months after the defective organ was cut from her body, the 23-year-old transplant patient came to contemplate a mass of pink and yellow tissue suspended in a transparent container at a medical museum in London.

She said her first look the organ, which until recently had been beating in her chest, was an "emotional and surreal experience."

"It caused me so much pain and turmoil when it was inside me," Sutton said in a statement released by the Wellcome Collection in London, where the heart is now on display. "Finally I can see this odd looking lump of muscle that has given me so much upset."

Sutton's heart was replaced in June after she developed a condition known as restrictive cardiomyopathy, which causes the heart muscle to stiffen so that it cannot relax normally after contraction, impairing its ability to distribute blood throughout the body.

The disease eventually causes death, and a transplant is the only cure.

She agreed to have the organ used as part of an exhibit put on by the collection, a new London museum devoted to the tracing the history of medicine.

The Heart, which examines the medical and cultural significance of one of humanity's most vital organs, runs until Sept. 16.

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