The Development of Cardiac Transplantation


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The history of cardiac transplantation provides an excellent prototype for the development of a therapeutic technique. The first observations on cardiac transplantation were made in animal models in the early 20th century. Surgical problems were solved through a series of technologic advances, and problems associated with immune-mediated rejection were discovered and successfully addressed. By the late 1960s, cardiac transplantation in humans had become feasible. Since the first successful transplantation of a heart in a human in 1967, the management of rejection and infection has steadily progressed, and the long-term outcome after cardiac transplantation has improved dramatically. The success of cardiac transplantation has led to an expansion of the potential recipient pool to include children and adults in the eighth decade of life. Unfortunately, the growth of cardiac transplantation has resulted in an inadequate supply of suitable donor hearts. The limited supply of donor hearts has provided the impetus for further research in xenotopic cardiac transplantation and for the development of implantable circulatory assist devices

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)480-484
Number of pages5
JournalMayo Clinic Proceedings
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1992
Externally publishedYes


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