The History of Research on Adult and Paediatric Heart Transplantation

  • Johann U. Brink
  • Yves d’Udekem


Heart transplantation has been an unachievable goal since the dawn of humanity. Only by the courage of a few pioneers could this dream become reality. After the pioneering work of Demikhov, the team of Stanford and New York built up the animal experimentation that would enable the first steps in human transplantation. The name Christiaan Barnard will always be remembered for being the first to perform human transplantation: “ he stared upon a heartless human chest, at that moment, he was struck by reality for the first time of what he was about to perform...” This breakthrough was quickly followed by rapid enthusiasm for this still experimental surgery in the United States. The poor results of this surgery attracted a lot of criticism. It was then considered that heart transplantation had become a “status symbol to the surgical team” rather than a useful adjunct in the fight against heart failure. It was only after further medical advances in the field of immunity that heart transplantation expanded to become what it is today.


Heart Transplantation Cardiac Transplantation Donor Heart Deep Hypothermic Circulatory Arrest Orthotopic Transplantation 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Italia 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Cardiac SurgeryRoyal Children’s HospitalParkvilleAustralia
  2. 2.Department of PediatricsRoyal Children’s Hospital, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, University of MelbourneParkvilleAustralia

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