February 11, 2006
1958: Norman Shumway, MD, PhD, comes to Stanford as an instructor in surgery. He begins studying cardiac transplantation, building on his research in total body hypothermia. He and his first resident, Richard R. Lower, MD, use precisely routed, ice-cold saline to further reduce the temperature of the heart.
1960: Shumway performs the first human open-heart surgery designed to correct an atrial septal defect.
1960: Shumway and Lower report the first successful orthotropic cardiac transplantation in a canine. The procedure involves removing the majority of the diseased heart and attaching the new heart to the remaining portion.
1961: Shumway designs and executes the operation to replace the aortic valve with the patient’s own pulmonary valve in animals (known today as the Ross procedure).
1965: Shumway becomes chief of the division of cardiothoracic surgery at Stanford.
1967: Shumway announces that he would perform a transplant in a human patient if a suitable donor and recipient became available. Shortly thereafter, Christiaan Barnard, MD, of South Africa performs the world’s first heart transplant on a patient who lives for 18 days, using the techniques Shumway and Lower had developed.
1968: On Jan. 6, Shumway and his surgical team perform the first successful adult human heart transplant in the United States and the fourth such procedure attempted in the world. The patient lives for 14 days.
1974: Shumway helps create the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery and serves as its first chair.
1981: Shumway and Bruce Reitz, MD, perform the world’s first successful combined adult human heart-lung transplant. The advent of the immunosuppressive drug, cyclosporine, and continuing transplant research at Stanford make this breakthrough possible.
1993: Shumway retires as chair of the department but remains on active emeritus status.
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