50th Anniversary of the 1st Heart Transplant

50th Anniversary of the 1st Heart Transplant
27 November 2017
On 03 December 1976, South African doctor, Dr Christiaan Barnard, performed the world’s very first human-to-human heart transplant at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town.

Let’s celebrate and acknowledge the 50-year anniversary of this world-changing medical intervention.

The History of the Heart Transplant
Dr Barnard’s successful undertaking changed the world for many people affected by heart conditions, and set a precedent for future medical interventions. In 1984, the first successful paediatric heart transplant took place, with a team led by Dr Eric A. Rose at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Centre helping a JP Lovette IV to live a far longer life than expected. Since the very first adult and paediatric heart transplant operations, more than 3500 of these are undertaken each year, across the globe.

The First Successful Heart Transplant
Dr Barnard’s surgery took just over six hours, and the patient, 46-year old Louis Washkansky, went on to live for a further eighteen days, enabling him to speak with his wife and the media of the time. Incidentally, Washkansky did not die from any heart-related conditions, but did die from pneumonia, as a result of a weakened immune system. Louis Washkansky battled a range of health problems, long before his heart transplant took place.

Taking Care of Your Heart
Now that you’re thinking about this important medical moment, that took place right here in SA, here’s what you can do to take better care of your heart:

LifeDoc Can Help
Now available for download as a mobile application, LifeDoc™ helps you take charge of your personal health information, making it easier to keep track of appointments and schedule those important check-ups, while securely storing your personal medical history. Register here or like the LifeDoc™ Facebook page for regular updates. You can also stay on track with LifeDoc™ developments on Twitter.