42 Facts About Christiaan Barnard

1.

Christiaan Neethling Barnard was a South African cardiac surgeon who performed the world's first human-to-human heart transplant operation.

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2.

On 3 December 1967, Christiaan Barnard transplanted the heart of accident-victim Denise Darvall into the chest of 54-year-old Louis Washkansky, with Washkansky regaining full consciousness and being able to talk easily with his wife, before dying eighteen days later of pneumonia, largely brought on by the anti-rejection drugs that suppressed his immune system.

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3.

Christiaan Barnard's technique saved the lives of ten babies in Cape Town and was adopted by surgeons in Britain and the United States.

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4.

Christiaan Barnard was introduced to the heart-lung machine, and Barnard was allowed to transfer to the service run by open heart surgery pioneer Walt Lillehei.

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5.

Christiaan Barnard retired as head of the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery in Cape Town in 1983 after rheumatoid arthritis in his hands ended his surgical career.

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6.

Christiaan Barnard became interested in anti-aging research, and in 1986 his reputation suffered when he promoted Glycel, an expensive "anti-aging" skin cream, whose approval was withdrawn by the United States Food and Drug Administration soon thereafter.

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7.

Christiaan Barnard died in 2001 at the age of 78 after an asthma attack.

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8.

Christiaan Barnard grew up in Beaufort West, Cape Province, Union of South Africa.

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9.

Christiaan Barnard's father, Adam Barnard, was a minister in the Dutch Reformed Church.

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10.

Christiaan Barnard matriculated from the Beaufort West High School in 1940, and went to study medicine at the University of Cape Town Medical School, where he obtained his MB ChB in 1945.

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11.

Christiaan Barnard did his internship and residency at the Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town, after which he worked as a general practitioner in Ceres, a rural town in the Cape Province.

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12.

Christiaan Barnard completed his master's degree, receiving Master of Medicine in 1953 from the University of Cape Town.

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13.

Christiaan Barnard followed a medical hunch that this was caused by inadequate blood flow to the fetus.

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14.

Christiaan Barnard was able to cure the condition by removing the piece of intestine with inadequate blood supply.

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15.

Simply by luck, whenever Christiaan Barnard needed a break from this work, he could wander across the hall and talk with Vince Gott who ran the lab for open-heart surgery pioneer Walt Lillehei.

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16.

In March 1956, Gott asked Christiaan Barnard to help him run the heart-lung machine for an operation.

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17.

Christiaan Barnard became friendly with Gil Campbell who had demonstrated that a dog's lung could be used to oxygenate blood during open-heart surgery.

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18.

In 1958, Christiaan Barnard received a Master of Science in Surgery for a thesis titled "The aortic valve – problems in the fabrication and testing of a prosthetic valve".

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19.

Christiaan Barnard was promoted to full-time lecturer and Director of Surgical Research at the University of Cape Town.

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20.

Christiaan Barnard rose to the position of Associate Professor in the Department of Surgery at the University of Cape Town in 1962.

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21.

Over time, Christiaan Barnard became known as a brilliant surgeon with many contributions to the treatment of cardiac diseases, such as the Tetralogy of Fallot and Ebstein's anomaly.

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22.

Christiaan Barnard was promoted to Professor of Surgical Science in the Department of Surgery at the University of Cape Town in 1972.

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23.

In 1981, Christiaan Barnard became a founding member of the World Cultural Council.

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24.

Christiaan Barnard had experimentally transplanted forty-eight hearts into dogs, which was about a fifth the number that Adrian Kantrowitz had performed at Maimonides Medical Center in New York and about a sixth the number Norman Shumway had performed at Stanford University in California.

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25.

Christiaan Barnard had no dogs which had survived longer than ten days, unlike Kantrowitz and Shumway who had had dogs survive for more than a year.

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26.

Christiaan Barnard had a patient willing to undergo the procedure, but as with other surgeons, he needed a suitable donor.

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27.

Christiaan Barnard performed the world's first human-to-human heart transplant operation in the early morning hours of Sunday 3 December 1967.

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28.

Christiaan Barnard was assisted by his brother Marius Christiaan Barnard, as well as a team of thirty staff members.

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29.

Christiaan Barnard designed the idea of the heterotopic in which the patient's diseased heart is left in place while the donor heart is added, essentially forming a "double heart".

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30.

Christiaan Barnard performed the first such heterotopic heart transplant in 1974.

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31.

Christiaan Barnard persisted until the advent of cyclosporine, an effective immunosuppressive drug, which helped revive the operation throughout the world.

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32.

Christiaan Barnard attempted xenotransplantation in two human patients, utilizing a baboon heart and chimpanzee heart, respectively.

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33.

Christiaan Barnard was an outspoken opponent of South Africa's laws of apartheid, and was not afraid to criticise his nation's government, although he had to temper his remarks to some extent to travel abroad.

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34.

Christiaan Barnard later stated that the reason he never won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was probably because he was a "white South African".

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35.

Christiaan Barnard married for a third time in 1988 to Karin Setzkorn, a young model.

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36.

Christiaan Barnard described in his autobiography The Second Life a one-night extramarital affair with Italian film star Gina Lollobrigida, that occurred in January 1968.

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37.

Christiaan Barnard retired as Head of the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery in Cape Town in 1983 after developing rheumatoid arthritis in his hands which ended his surgical career.

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38.

Christiaan Barnard had struggled with arthritis since 1956, when it was diagnosed during his postgraduate work in the United States.

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39.

Christiaan Barnard had by this time become very interested in anti-aging research, and his reputation suffered in 1986 when he promoted Glycel, an expensive "anti-aging" skin cream, whose approval was withdrawn by the United States Food and Drug Administration soon thereafter.

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40.

Christiaan Barnard spent time as a research advisor to the Clinique la Prairie, in Switzerland, where the controversial "rejuvenation therapy" was practised.

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41.

Barnard divided the remainder of his years between Austria, where he established the Christiaan Barnard Foundation, dedicated to helping underprivileged children throughout the world, and his game farm in Beaufort West, South Africa.

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42.

Christiaan Barnard died on 2 September 2001, while on holiday in Paphos, Cyprus.

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