CHRISTIAAN BARNARD The first successful heart transplant Surgeon

Christiaan BaranrdChristiaan Barnard was born in 8 November 1922 the town of Beaufort West. His father Adam Barnard was a minister in the Dutch reformed church. Barnard’s one brother died of a heart problem at the age of 5 year. Barnard received his early education to his home town. He qualified from the University of Cape Town in 1946. He starts his work as general practitioner. He completed his Master’s degree. In 1953, receiving master of medicine form the University of Cape Town. He also obtained Doctorate in medicine (MD) in the same year and same university titled as “The treatment of tuberculous meningitis”. In the cardiothoracic Surgery at the university of Minnesota,Minneapolis he received a two year scholarship for postgraduate training  in 1956. He received a Master of Science in Surgery for a thesis in the year of 1958. In the same year he was awarded Doctor of Philosophy degree for his dissertation titled “The aetiology of congenital in intestinal atresia. He received many awards over the years. He was named “Professor Emeritus” in 1984.

In 1956, Barnard performed his first successful kidney transplant in United States. In South Africa 1967 he did second kidney transplant. Barnard experimented many years for animal heart transplants.

Christiaan Barnard performed the world’s first heart transplant operation on 3rd December 1967 at Groote Schuur Hospitals, Cape Town. In this operation Baarnard brother assisted with him and also used the team of thirty people, the duration of this operation was 9 hours. The patient name was “Louis Washkansky.  Louis was suffering from diabetes and incurable heart disease. Louis was a suitable patient for a heart transplant because Louis has the short time to live due to his disease so he was prepared to take the chance. It was a major historical event and significant breakthrough for medical science.

Barnard wrote:

“For a dying man it is not a difficult decision because he knows he is at the end. If a lion chases you to the bank of a river filled with crocodiles, you will leap in to the water, convinced you have a chance to swim to the other side”.


  Barnard performed the first successful human to human heart transplant. And the Patient Louis Washkansky becomes first receiver of the heart from other human. Barnard had passed a milestone in a new field of life of extending surgery. Media coverage this event of first human to human heart transplantation around the world. This event cover the front page and it appeared daily for weeks and months on end. Barnard enjoyed the media and was very happy with his accomplishment.

Barnard wrote many books related to his field and he also wrote autobiography. Barnard died on 2nd September 2001.In early reports the reason of death is Heart Attack but through some other source showed his death was caused by a severe asthma attack.

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Sajida Kashif

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