03 December-Louis Washkansky-First Heart Transplant

Louis Washkansky was the first person in history on whom a successful heart transplant was performed. The operation was carried out in December 1966 at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa. The heart transplant was performed by a team of surgeons led by Dr Christiaan Barnard.

At the time of the transplant Louis Washkansky was 54. He had served as a soldier during World War II and was a keen sportsman. In later years however, he suffered from ill-health and developed incurable heart disease. Washkansky agreed to undergo a heart transplant operation.

Dr Christiaan Barnard was the senior cardiothoracic surgeon at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town. For several years he had carried out extensive experimentation on heart transplantation in dogs. On December 2nd a heart became available from a young woman who had been fatally injured in a traffic accident. In a nine hour operation Barnard successfully transplanted the heart to Washkansky. Louis Washkansky survived for 18 days. He died of pneumonia as he was taking immunosuppressive drugs.

Louis Washkansky became the first human on whom a heart transplant was performed in Cape Town, South Africa in the year 1967 On This Day


Groote Schuur Hospital photo

Groote Schuur Hospital by andryn2006 on 2016-09-07 09:27:12


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