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World’s first human heart transplant performed in South Africa

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PROLEGOMENON

On December 3, 1967, 53-year-old Lewis Washkansky receives the first human heart transplant at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa. Washkansky, a South African grocer dying from chronic heart disease, received the transplant from Denise Darvall, a 25-year-old woman who was fatally injured in a car accident.

Surgeon Christiaan Barnard, who trained at the University of Cape Town and in the United States, performed the revolutionary medical operation. The technique Barnard employed had been initially developed by a group of American researchers in the 1950s.

American surgeon Norman Shumway achieved the first successful heart transplant this time, in a dog, at Stanford University in California in 1958.

SURGERY

After Washkansky’s surgery, he was given drugs to suppress his immune system and keep his body from rejecting the heart. These drugs also left him susceptible to sickness, however, 18 days later, he died from double pneumonia.

Despite the setback, Washkansky’s new heart had functioned normally until his death. In the 1970s, the development of better anti-rejection drugs made transplantation more viable.

Dr. Barnard continued to perform heart transplant operations, and by the late 1970s many of his patients were living up to five years with their new hearts. Successful heart transplant surgery continues to be performed today, but finding appropriate donors is extremely difficult.

THE SURGEON

Christiaan Neethling Barnard (8 November 1922 – 2 September 2001) was a South African cardiac surgeon who performed the world’s first humanto- human heart transplant on December 3, 1967, and the second overall heart transplant (Hardy did a xenotransplant in 1964). Growing up in Beaufort West, Cape Province, he studied medicine and worked in that field for several years in his native country.

In 1955, he travelled to the United States for postgraduate training under open heart surgery pioneer Walt Lillehei, where he first became acquainted with the future heart transplantation surgeon Norman Shumway. Upon returning to South Africa in 1958, Barnard was appointed car- diothoracic surgeon at the Groote Schuur Hospital, establishing the hospital’s first heart unit.

On 3 December 1967, Barnard transplanted a heart from a person who had just died from a head injury, with full permission of the donor’s family, into the chest of a 54-year-old Louis Washkansky. Washkansky regained full consciousness and lived for 18 days, even spending time with his wife, before he died of pneumonia, with the reduction of his immune system by the anti-rejection drugs being a major contributing factor. However, Barnard’s second transplant patient Philip Blaiberg at the beginning of 1968 lived for 19 months and was able to go home from the hospital.

HEART TRANSPLANT

A heart transplant, or a cardiac transplant, is a surgical transplant procedure performed on patients with end-stage heart failure or severe coronary artery disease when other medical or surgical treatments have failed. As of today ,the most common procedure is to take a functioning heart from a recently deceased organ donor and implant it into the patient.

The patient’s own heart is usually removed and replaced with the donor’s heart.

POST-OPERATIVE COMPLICATIONS

Post-operative complications include infection, sepsis, organ rejection, as well as the side-effects of the immunosuppressive medication. Since the transplanted heart originates from another organism, the recipient’s immune system typically attempts to reject it.

The risk of rejection never fully goes away, and the patient will be on immunosuppressive drugs for the rest of his or her life, but these may cause unwanted side effects, such as increased likelihood of infections or development of certain cancers.

Recipients can acquire kidney disease from a heart transplant due to side effects of immunosuppressant medications.

Many recent advances in reducing complications due to tissue rejection stem from mouse heart transplant procedures.

POST-OPERATION SURVIVAL

Approximately 3500 heart transplants are performed every year in the world, more than half of which occur in the US.

Post-operation survival periods average 15 years. Heart transplantation is not considered to be a cure for heart disease, but a life-saving treatment intended to improve the quality of life for recipients.

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Residents to IGP: We’re no longer safe in Abuja

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In recent months, the Federal Capital Territory has witnessed an upsurge in crime, a situation that has attracted the attention of the security agencies. EMMANUEL ONANI reports

The Nigeria Police is the lead agency in crime fighting and prevention. As a matter of fact, the Police’s vision had been: “To make Nigeria safer and more secure for economic development and growth; to create a safe and secure environment for everyone living in Nigeria”.

How much of this vision has been cascaded to the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Police Command, within the context of fighting crime and criminality within and around the city?

A cross section of residents of the FCT, who spoke with Inside Abuja, showed “loss of confidence” in the crime-fighting capacity of the Police, in the face of prevailing realities.

In separate encounters, the consensus was that: criminal elements in the mould of armed robbers, car-snatchers, ‘one chance’, ritualists among other violent characters, now violate the city’s otherwise impregnable sanctity with audacious impunity.

The case of two female lawyers

Two female lawyers were the first to tell their distasteful tales of woes occasioned by the state of insecurity in the FCT.

Barrister Paulyn (surname withheld) said: “I was done for the day and since I didn’t drive, I stopped at Area 11 junction (by Total Filling Station), to board a vehicle to Masaka.

“About twenty minutes after, a Golf car with just a male occupant pulled over, with echo of ‘Masaka Masaka’.

“I boarded, and shortly after take-off, the supposed ‘passenger’ brought out a knife that shone like a spotless glass, and threatened to kill me if I dared to scream.

“Throughout the period they drove me to their den, there was no single policeman on the road, at least to boost my courage, to scream for help.

“My brother, I was lucky that they only took my expensive phone and all the cash I had in my bag.”

Another female lawyer, who gave her name simply as Beauty, narrated her ordeal thus: “I had a matter at Zone 2 Magistrate Court last week and like other learned colleagues, I parked my car around the court’s vicinity and went in.

“Within a space of an hour, I got back to find that my handbag, which I had hidden in the car, had been stolen with other valuable items.

“Please, help tell the police to wake up to the sorry state of security in Abuja.”

How we got robbed around minister’s hill (Anonymous):

Another victim of armed robbery, who chose to remain anonymous for fear of the unknown, said: “We were returning home through the single end of the Kubwa – Abuja expressway, when our car showed a sign of malfunction.

“We stopped to check and like a bolt from the blue, some thieves numbering about four, emerged from one of the known forests there, and dispossessed us of all valuable items. We were lucky to return home alive.”

Inside Abuja was told how a man, who parked his car within the Diamond area (Wuse 11), returned to find, that “his car had been burgled, and an i-pad and other items stolen.

The reports are endless! Another ugly story was told of how a couple riding in a sports utility vehicle (SUV) to Games Village, had the side glass shattered with a metal, while waiting to be passed at the traffic light junction.

Just when you thought it was abating, came this one from CITEC Estate, where a resident complained of an attack on his way back home.

“My brother, these boys hit and collected everything I had on me without help from any policeman”, a visibly angry victim said.

Hear another victim: “I parked my car about 300 metres away from Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Maitama.

“Guess what I saw barely 30 minutes after? They had taken down the glass of my car, and bolted with my laptop and other expensive items.”

About a week ago, the Commissioner of Police in charge of the Command, Mr. Sadiq Bello, had made public the discovery of an illegal arms factory somewhere in Zuba.

In the face of the growing disruptions, however, the Police had sued for collaboration, with a view to fighting crimes, especially incidents of car theft.

“As a result of the seeming rise in cases of theft of motor vehicles within FCT, especially the ones that are easily removed from where parked, the FCT Police Command is poised to take necessary action to stem the tide of the menace.

“The Command is going to embark on vigorous stop and search along the highways as such members of the public are hereby advised to always have proof of ownership of their cars in their possession to avoid embarrassment”, the Command had said in a statement.

In the wake of the discovery of the illegal arms factory, the CP had, while addressing some journalists, said: “Following intelligence and discreet Police investigation, operatives of the Command have uncovered an illegal firearm fabricating factory located around Shenagu village near Zuba.

“During a raid on the factory, three suspects were arrested. They  include the owner of the factory, Philip John, the supplier of ammunitions, Mr Onyegabueze Okpara and the distributor of the arms, one Joseph Bulus”.

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Unn pharmacy building for commissioning

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The new three-storey building of the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, will be commissioned soon. Science writer, STANLEY CHIBUIHEM AMALAHA, in an interview with Prof. Godswill C. Onunkwo, Dean of the Faculty, reports

All is set for the commissioning of the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences’s new three-storey building at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

The building, built by TETFUND, will accommodate seven department s of the faculty: According to Prof. Godswill C. Onukwo, Dean of the faculty, “The Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences started in 1967 as the Department of Pharmacy in the Faculty of Science. Because of the Nigerian Civil War (1967-1970) ,the department did not function actively until 1970.

It was elevated to the status of faculty in 1980, originally with four departments.

At present, the faculty has seven departments namely: Pharmaceutics with Dr. Paul Akpa as the Head; Microbiology/Biotechnology, with Prof. Emma Ibezim as the Head; Pharmaceutical Technology & Industrial Pharmacy, with Prof. Sabinus Ofoefule as the Head.

Others include ; Pharmaceutical Chemistry, headed by Prof. Mrs. Ngozi Nwodo; Pharmacology & Toxicology, by Dr. Mrs. Adaobi Ezike; Pharmacognosy, Prof. Mrs. Stella Inyi-Agha; and Clinical Pharmacy with Dr. Chukwuemeka Ubaka as the Head”.

Prof. Onunkwo further expressed delight with TETFUND and the university’s Vice Chancellor, Prof. Benjamin Ozumba for the successful construction of the gigantic three-storey building.

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Physics Writers Series Creation produces university physics textbooks

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Stories Stanley Chibuihem Amalaha

Eggheads from different Nigerian universities under the umbrella titled: Physics writers Series Creation, have produced array of textbooks in physics for Nigerian students. According to Prof. P.N. Okeke, a world renowned Physicist and president of the association, who initiated the project: “Physics Writers Series Creation is a compendium of seasoned physics lecturers from 20 universities in the South East and South South Nigeria. These lecturers decided to collaborate in the writing and production of different physics textbooks for Nigerian students. The aim is to make physics books easily accessible to our students and to reduce high cost of importation of foreign physics textbooks. It also serves as an academic training for physics lecturers in Nigerian universities because we use local examples in our environment as example in the illustrations in the book for more comprehension for students.
Prof. Okeke further highlighted on the books.
“Some of the textbooks we have produced include; Practical Physics texts; Mechanics/Properties of Matter/Thermal Physics; Electromagnetism/ Modern Physics/ Waves & Optics. These three books cover the syllabus for first year science/engineering courses in Nigerian universities which will help to equip our students in their fields of endevour. Other textbooks we have successfully produced for physics Majors includes: Introduction to Space Science, Special theory of relativity etc.
Prof. P.N. Okeke is a Professor Emeritus of physics & astronomy. He is the best author of physics textbook in West Africa who makes Physics easy and enjoyable in both secondary and tertiary levels.
He is the first African author of astronomy and space science textbooks. The first Director of NASRDA Centre for Basic Science in Nigeria. The first president of African Astronomical Society. He is a world figure with many international collaborations and discoveries.

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