Video Duration 25 minutes 00 seconds
From: Inside Story

Medical miracle: 50 years since first heart transplant

Dr Christiaan Barnard performed the world’s first human-to-human heart transplant on December 3, 1967.

This week marks a significant milestone in experimental surgery – one that would be cheered, debated, and forever talked about. Fifty years ago, South African surgeon Christiaan Barnard successfully performed the first human-to-human heart transplant. 

Since then, thousands of lives have been saved by this groundbreaking technology, mostly in developed nations.

Five decades later, nearly 4,000 people have the surgery each year, with an average wait time of about 191 days.

So how far have we come since that medical milestone? And what heart technology will help shape the future?

Presenter: Laura Kyle


Dr Stephen Westaby – Royal Brompton Hospital, Imperial College

Dr Olivia Gilbert – Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center

James Styan – author of Heartbreaker: Christiaan Barnard and the First Heart Transplant