First Human Heart Transplantation II

Lead: Building on two centuries of research and experimentation, South African Dr. Christaan Barnard performed the first heart transplant.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Though he was the first surgeon to successfully transplant a human heart, Dr. Barnard was using a technique developed by an American team at Stanford University Medical Center, led by surgeon Norman Shumway, who was considered by many to be the father of heart transplantation. In 1958 Shumway had transplanted the first heart in a dog. He and his associates had spent most of the early 1960s developing heart-lung machines and progressively removing the obstacles to organ transplantation. By the middle of the decade only the issue of immunosuppression seemed to be blocking the way. The body of the patient had a natural tendency to reject donor tissue as an alien to be destroyed.

First Human Heart Transplantation I

Lead: In December 1967, surgeons in South Africa performed the first human heart transplant. 53-year-old Lewis Washkansky survived for 18 days.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The work of Dr. Christiaan Barnard in transplanting the heart of 25-year-old auto accident victim Denise Durvall into Washkansky built on more than two centuries of experimentation in immunology and surgery. This progress was enhanced by the late 19th-century work on antibodies by Paul Ehrlich, the blood typing research of Karl Landsteiner in 1900, and Ilya Metchnikoff’s theory of host rejection.