In years, heart transplant surgery hasn t changed significantly. It s been years since South African Dr. Christiaan Barnard performed the first human heart transplant. The first heart transplant patientd days after his surgery. Now, most patients live an average of years after receiving a new heart..Fifty years ago today Dec. , Denise Darvall, a South African woman in her mid s,d in a car crash. Her was tragic, but had a silver lining it catalyzed one of the most important medical breakthroughs in modern history. Christiaan Barnard, the senior cardiothoracic surgeon at the Groote Schuur .But within a few years, enthusiasm had waned. transplant procedures were carried out, but only patients survived. Results for the next three years were similarly disappointing transplants with survivors. In , only heart transplants were performed around the world. By the late ., , as Stanford surgeon Norman Shumway performed the first U.S. adult heart transplantation, the world held its breath. The surgery that day years ago captured a moment in history when the transplantation of a human heart was so hard to fathom, so bizarre, it was considered shocking, almost .
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