Heart transplantation was and is still recognised as a medical milestone. Its ability to offer a second chance of life to people with end-stage cardiac disease is its major triumph. Dr Christiaan Barnard’s work was instrumental in realising the actual possibility of conducting a human transplant, and provided the framework for further advances in this field. He deserves due credit for conducting the first successful human heart transplant.
Barnard’s original paper was published in the South African Medical Journal in 1967 (Barnard CN et al. A human cardiac transplant: an interim report of a human successful operation performed at Groote Schuur Hospital, Cape Town. South African Med J 1967; 41: 1271–1274). The full article is reproduced online here, and we are grateful to the South African Medical Journal for permission to do this. The paper has been reproduced exactly as it originally appeared in print; the only alteration that has been made is to the layout.