Who Performed the First Human Heart Transplant in 1967?

Jesu Priya | 05 - 03 - 2020
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Dr. Chris Barnard, a South African doctor, performed the world’s first human heart transplant in the year 1967 on a 53-year-old Louis Washkansky.

On December 3rd, 1967, Barnard who was qualified in medicine at the University of Cape Town in 1946, performed the world’s first human-to-human heart transplant and this extraordinary event took place at the Groote Schuur Hospital, Cape Town. This has pushed science to the next level and has helped it grow to date. 

The heart transplant they performed was a nine-hour long operation- this was performed after a decade of surgery by Barnard with his thirty members of the cardiothoracic team. The patient was Louis Washkansky, a fifty-three-year-old dying from a chronic heart condition. And he received the heart from a brain-damaged patient Denise Darvall 25, who was fatally injured in an accident. 

1. Who Transplanted the First Heart?
  • A. Alan Thal
  • B. Chris Barnard
  • C. Owen Wangensteen
  • D. None of the above

Surgeon Barnard started the operation shortly after midnight on a Saturday night and completed it the next day around 6 AM. After a while Louis regained consciousness and then he was able to communicate, but his condition deteriorated and after 18 days Louis died from double Pneumonia. 

The hospital has set up the “HEART OF CAPE TOWN Museum” which honors those who played a leading role in the surgery. The operation theater has been recreated to display an authentic representation of the groundbreaking operation. 

In the 1970s the development of better anti-rejection medicines made transplantation more practical. Chris continued his operations, and by the late ’70s, many patients were able to live up to five years with their heart transplant. 

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