Organ Transplant History

1954: On December 23, the first successful living-related kidney transplant led by Dr. Joseph Murray and Dr. David Hume at Brigham Hospital in Boston: A kidney was transplanted from Ronald Herrick into his identical twin, Richard. Read an exclusive New York Organ Donor Network interview with Dr. Joseph Murray (PDF) about this history-making transplant.

1962: First successful kidney transplant from a deceased donor, led by Dr. Joseph Murray and Dr. David Hume at Brigham Hospital in Boston.
1963: First successful lung transplant led by Dr. James Hardy at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, MS.

1966: First successful pancreas/kidney transplant led by Drs. Richard Lillehei and William Kelly at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, MN.
1967: First successful liver transplant led by Dr. Thomas Starzl at the University of Colorado in Denver, CO.
1967: First successful heart transplant led by Dr. Christiaan Barnard at Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa.
1968: First successful heart transplant in the United States led by Dr. Norman Shumway at Stanford University Hospital, CA.
1968: Uniform Anatomical Gift Act establishes the Uniform Donor Card as a legal document for anyone 18 years of age or older to legally donate his or her organs upon death.
1972: End Stage Renal Disease Act (ESRD) paves way for Medicare Coverage of Renal Dialysis and Kidney Transplants.    
1981: First Successful heart/lung transplant led by Dr. Brice Reitz at Stanford University Medical Center, Stanford, CA.
1983: FDA approves Cyclosporine, the most successful anti-rejection medication developed to date; by 1984, two-thirds of all heart transplant patients survived for five years or more.
1983: First successful single lung transplant led by Dr. Joel Cooper from the Toronto Lung Transplant Group, at Toronto General Hospital in Canada.

1984: National Organ Transplant Act (NOTA) establishes a nationwide computer registry operated by the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS); authorizes financial support for Organ Procurement Organizations (OPOs); prohibits buying or selling of organs in the United States.

1986: Dr. Michael DeBakey performs the world’s first heart transplant in 14 years. (USA)

1986: First successful double-lung transplant led by Dr. Joel Cooper from the Toronto Lung Transplant Group, at Toronto General Hospital in Canada.
1986: Required Request Laws require hospitals to develop policies to identify patients as potential donors and approach families about organ donation.
1988: FDA approves Viaspan, which greatly extends the preservation of donated livers.      
1989: First successful small intestine transplant (a near-total small bowel from a deceased donor) into a child, led by Dr. Olivier Goulet in Paris, France.
1989: First successful living-related liver transplant led by Dr. Christoph Broelsch from Hamburg, Germany, at the University of Chicago Medical Center.    
1990: First successful living-related lung transplant led by Dr. Vaughn Starnes at Stanford University Medical Center in Palo Alto, California. He transplants the lobe of one lung from an adult female into the woman’s 12-year-old daughter.    
1992: First baboon to human liver transplant performed by Drs. Satoru Todo, Andreas Tzakis and John Fung, under the direction of pioneer transplant surgeon Thomas Starzl, at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
1998: National Conditions of Participation legislation enacted; required hospitals to refer all deaths, and imminent deaths, to the local Organ Procurement Organizations (OPOs)
1998: First successful hand transplant led by Australian Dr. Earl Owen and Frenchman Dr. Jean-Michel Dubernard in a 13-hour long operation in Lyon, France.

2005: First successful partial face transplant led by Dr. Bernard Devauchelle and Dr. Jean-Michel Dubernard in Amiens, France.

2008: Dr. Michael DeBakey, the world-famous cardiovascular surgeon who pioneered such now-common procedures as bypass surgery and invented a host of devices to help heart patients, died on July 11, at  the age of 99.

2010: The world’s first full face transplant took place in Spain. The recipient was a man injured in a shooting accident. In July, the recipient who was only identified as Oscar (age 31), spoke with considerable difficulty at a news conference at Barcelona's Vall d'Hebron hospital, where he was operated on in late March.