History of Transplantation

Throughout history people have always been intrigued by the possibilities of the transplantation of organs and tissues from one body to another. During the fifteenth century we can find references in historical medical literature of attempted blood transfusions as well as the transplantation of teeth (presumably from cadavers).  A skin transplant and a corneal transplant were reported in medical journals dating as far back as 1880.  Of course, these early attempts at transplantation were usually unsuccessful.  It was not until early in the twentieth century that transplantation offered the promise of renewed health and life envisioned by our ancestors.

1906 – First corneal transplant by Austrian ophthalmologist Dr. Edward Zim.
1908 – First skin allograft by Swiss surgeon Jacques Louis Reverdin.
1908 – Successful first cadaver knee joint transplant by Dr Eric Lexer.
1911 – Initial use of homologous vein tissue in arterial reconstruction.
1918 – First blood transfusion.
1949 – Establishment of US Navy Tissue Bank.
1954 – First successful living-related kidney transplant from identical twins performed by Dr. Joseph Murray and Dr. David Hume in Boston, MA. The recipient had normal kidney function for eight years.
1955 – Initial fresh heart valve allograft put into descending aorta.
1955 – Frozen venous allograft for femoral artery bypass.
1962 – First fresh heart values implanted into cardiac position.
1962 – First successful cadaveric kidney transplant by Dr. Joseph Murray and Dr. David Hume in Boston, MA.  The recipient had normal kidney function for 21 months.
1963 – First liver transplant performed by Dr. Thomas Starzl..
1963 – First lung transplant performed by Dr. James Hardy at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson, MS.
1967 – First heart transplant performed by Dr. Christian Bernard at Groate Shure Hospital, South Africa.  The recipient had normal heart function for 19 months.
1967 –      First successful pancreas transplant performed by Dr. Richard C. Lillehei at the University of Minnesota.
1968 – Brain death criteria created.
1968 – The Uniform Anatomical Gift Act. Legislation allows gift of organs to others.
1971 – Frozen heart valves used in allograft.
1971 – Introduction of cryopreserved human skin allografts.
1972 – The Uniform Anatomical Gift Act establishes the Uniform Organ Donor Card as a legal document in all 50 states making it possible for anyone 18 years or older to legally donate his or her organs upon death.
1972 – End Stage Renal Disease Act paves way for Medicare coverage of all kidney transplants.
1974 – First use of cryopreserved venous allograft.
1978 – Cyclosporin begins testing.
1979 – Living related pancreas transplanted, Minneapolis, MN.
1981 – Brain death criteria expanded by President’s Commission for Study of Ethical Problems in Medicine and Biomedical Research.
1981 – First heart and lung transplant performed by Dr. Norman Shumway at Stanford University Medical Center, Stanford, CA.
1982 – Barney Clark receives the first permanent artificial heart at the University of Utah.
1983 – FDA approval of cyclosporine, the most successful anti-rejection medication developed to date.
1984 – First heart/liver transplant performed by Dr. Starzl at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.
1984 – Baby Fae receives a walnut-sized baboon heart in an operation at Loma Linda University Medical Center.  She was the first infant to receive an animal organ.  Baby Fae lived for 21 days.
1984 – National Organ Transplant Act (Public Law 98.507) establishes nationwide computer registry operated by the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS). The Act also authorizes financial support for organ procurement organizations and outlaws purchase or sale of organs.
1985 – New York State, Oregon, and Pennsylvania pass Required Request Law. Mandates all potential organ and tissue donors be approached for donation. Soon thereafter, all remaining 47 states follow suit.
1986 – Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act passed. Requires all potential donors to be approached, superseding state laws and adding hospitals must comply to receive Medicare benefits.
1988 – FDA approval of Viaspan or UW solution, greatly extends preservation time for livers.
1988 – First split-liver transplant
1988 – Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Organizations sets donor identification and notification standards.  Requires the hospitals to have policies and procedures in place for the identification, referral and procurement of organs and tissues.
1989 – Dr. Thomas Starzl at the University of Pittsburgh reports clinical success of promising new anti-rejection drug, FK-506.
1989 – First liver transplant from a living related donor.
1990 – Lung transplantation attempted as cure for Cystic Fibrosis.
1990 – Dr. Joseph Murray (performed first kidney transplant) awarded Nobel Prize for Medicine.
1990 – Dr. Thomas (pioneered bone marrow transplants as a cure for leukemia) awarded Nobel Prize for Medicine.
1990 – First successful heart related lung transplant.
1991 – First attempt at partial lung transplant.
1991 – First successful small intestine transplant.
1992 –  UNOS helps found the Coalition on Donation, now known as Donate Life America 
1996 – U.S. surgeons at Barnes Hospital in St. Louis, University of California, San Francisco, and Stanford University Hospital perform split-liver transplants.
1998 – First successful living-donor liver transplant between adults
2000 – The Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network (OPTN) becomes federally regulated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
2001 – First time the yearly number of living organ donors exceeded the number of deceased organ donors
2003 – First tongue transplant takes place.  The recipient could not move the tongue on its own or taste, but he was soon able to swallow liquid.
2005 – Surgeons in France perform first ever face transplant
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