- On this day in history, exactly 52-years-ago, a South African doctor made history
- Dr Chris Barnard completed the world's first successful heart transplant on 3 December, 1967
- The recipient of the heart lived 18 days before dying of pneumonia
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Today, 3 December, marks the 52nd anniversary of the great achievement by Dr Christiaan 'Chris' Neethling Barnard.
Dr Barnard performed the world's first human to human heart transplant at Groote Schuur Hospital, Cape Town, on 3 December, 1967.
Briefly.co.za learned that at the time, Dr Barnard had been doing a decade of heart surgery before he and his gifted cardiothoracic team of thirty - including his brother Marius - took on the nine hour ling operation.
The recipient of the world's first heart transplant was 53-year-old Louis Washkansky. Barnard and his team used the heart of Denise Darvall.
Darvall's father, Edward, agreed to donate his daughter's heart and kidneys after she was run over by a car and declared brain dead a day before the surgery.
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Barnard and his team started the surgery shortly after midnight and it was successfully completed by 6 a.m.
The renowned South African surgeon shocked Washkansky's new heart into action. When he regained consciousness, he could talk and occasionally walk.
However, Washkansky survived only 18 days after the heart transplant and he ultimately died of pneumonia.
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