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The South African surgeon Christian Barnard performed the first human heart transplant on December 3rd 1967. It took place at the Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town. The patient was Louis Washkansky, the heart he received was from a road accident victim. He later died from pneumonia.

Since that day the use of heart transplants have become widespread and operations are now performed upon babies and small children.

Ever since the 1940’s doctors and surgeons had been trying to transplant such organs as the kidneys and the heart but the body was rejecting the new organ.

This problem was eased by discovering that the tissue types for both patients had to match closely and thus the person receiving the heart had a much better chance of accepting the new organ and indeed surviving. At the very same time drugs were recorded to control the bodies natural defence system so that it wouldn’t reject the foreign body.