The Artificial Heart as a Complement to Transplantation?
It is now 20 years ago that Christiaan Barnard performed the first human heart transplantation in South Africa. Following this event, roughly 18 centers performed 180 heart transplants, with disastrous results. Thereafter, only a few centers continued to perform about 50 transplants a year. The introduction of cyclosporin in 1981 made transplantation clinically feasible, and approximately 2000 transplantations were performed worldwide within the past year. The survival rates have improved, thanks to a decreased rate of infection; this is due to triple- and quadruple-drug therapy, whereby cyclosporin and prednisone are reduced in dosage.