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Cardiac Transplant Program
Cardiac Transplant Program

Our history

The modern era of heart transplantation began on December 3, 1967, when Christiaan Neethling Barnard performed the first human heart transplant at the Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa.

The first infant heart transplant was performed the following year in New York, in which a donor heart was transplanted into an infant with tricuspid atresia. The outcome of this first case was not successful, and it was many years before the advances made in adult heart transplantation were applied to the younger paediatric population.

In 1984, Leonard Bailey began to push the frontiers of paediatric heart transplantation by transplanting the heart of a baboon into a newborn baby with hypoplastic left heart syndrome. This was called the Baby Fae case. The Baby Fae case began an era of innovation in heart transplantation that affected the entire paediatric population. Transplantation was attempted not only with patients that were younger and smaller, but in patients with more complex congenital cardiac malformations.