50 Years since the First Heart Transplant in the World

50 Years since the First Heart Transplant in the World

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On December 3, 1967, the world learned that a doctor had transplanted into a man the heart of a dead woman in Cape Town. A feat compared with the arrival of man to the moon.

A medical feeling The South African surgeon Christiaan Barnard performed the first heart transplant in the world, thus going on to the history of science. The patient was Louis Washkansky, 54 years old. During a surgery at the Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town, he received the heart of a young woman killed in an accident. 18 days after the procedure, the recipient died of pneumonia.

A Medical Feeling
The South African surgeon Christiaan Barnard performed the first heart transplant in the world, thus going on to the history of science. The patient was Louis Washkansky, 54 years old. During a surgery at the Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town, he received the heart of a young woman killed in an accident. 18 days after the procedure, the recipient died of pneumonia.

A well-trained team The transplant lasted five hours. There were 31 doctors involved, including Christiaan Barnard's brother. The donor was Denise Ann Darvall, 25, who was diagnosed with brain death. The consent for the extraction of his heart was given by his father.

A Well-Trained Team
The transplant lasted five hours. There were 31 doctors involved, including Christiaan Barnard’s brother. The donor was Denise Ann Darvall, 25, who was diagnosed with brain death. The consent for the extraction of his heart was given by his father.

A true series of heart transplants On January 2, 1968, Barnard performed a heart transplant, for the second time. Philip Blaiberg lived 18 months with someone else's heart. He was followed by around 100 operations around the world. But often, patients died from the immune rejection generated by the new heart, which caused deadly infections.

A true series of heart transplants
On January 2, 1968, Barnard performed a heart transplant, for the second time. Philip Blaiberg lived 18 months with someone else’s heart. He was followed by around 100 operations around the world. But often, patients died from the immune rejection generated by the new heart, which caused deadly infections.

Thanks to the dogs ... Barnard's critics claimed that the surgical technique had been copied from colleagues in the United States, where he attended hundreds of interventions on dogs. The fact that the then 45-year-old doctor performed an intervention of this type on a human being was the subject of harsh criticism, especially from his American colleagues.

Thanks to the dogs …
Barnard’s critics claimed that the surgical technique had been copied from colleagues in the United States, where he attended hundreds of interventions on dogs. The fact that the then 45-year-old doctor performed an intervention of this type on a human being was the subject of harsh criticism, especially from his American colleagues.

Famous overnight ... The world's most famous surgeon was born on November 8, 1922 in Beaufort West, South Africa, and was the son of a Protestant missionary. First he was an assistant doctor, then a general practitioner and internist in a hospital for infectious diseases, until becoming a surgeon. With the first heart transplant he became known throughout the world.

Famous overnight …
The world’s most famous surgeon was born on November 8, 1922 in Beaufort West, South Africa, and was the son of a Protestant missionary. First he was an assistant doctor, then a general practitioner and internist in a hospital for infectious diseases, until becoming a surgeon. With the first heart transplant he became known throughout the world.

Between Mandela, the Pope and the Countess of Monaco Barnard appeared on television, participated in round tables, was welcomed at receptions and festivals, along with important figures of the time, such as Countess Grace Patricia of Monaco, for example. There was also a visit to Pope Paul VI. The powerful of the world adorned themselves with their presence.

Between Mandela, the Pope and the Countess of Monaco
Barnard appeared on television, participated in round tables, was welcomed at receptions and festivals, along with important figures of the time, such as Countess Grace Patricia of Monaco, for example. There was also a visit to Pope Paul VI. The powerful of the world adorned themselves with their presence.

Death in the pool and some tips ... Christiaan Barnard, a heart transplant pioneer, died on September 2, 2001 at the age of 78 in Cyprus. At first it was thought that it had been for a heart attack, but in reality it would have been an asthma attack. After all, the world-famous cardiac surgeon had followed the rules: exercising, daily, one or two glasses of red wine, olive oil and sex.

Death in the pool and some tips …
Christiaan Barnard, a heart transplant pioneer, died on September 2, 2001 at the age of 78 in Cyprus. At first it was thought that it had been for a heart attack, but in reality it would have been an asthma attack. After all, the world-famous cardiac surgeon had followed the rules: exercising, daily, one or two glasses of red wine, olive oil and sex.

A feeling that today is routine Barnard left medicine an important legacy. Although it took several years and many setbacks until the heart transplant became a safe treatment method. Today, however, it is a breakthrough. In 2016, 297 heart transplants were performed in Germany and 450 new patients were registered. The problem: donor organs are missing.

A feeling that today is routine
Barnard left medicine an important legacy. Although it took several years and many setbacks until the heart transplant became a safe treatment method. Today, however, it is a breakthrough. In 2016, 297 heart transplants were performed in Germany and 450 new patients were registered. The problem: donor organs are missing.

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