Medicine: New Life for Heart Transplants

But rising concern about high costs threatens the procedure

When South African Surgeon Christiaan Barnard performed the first heart transplant in 1967, medicine instantly had a new glamour field. In two years, more than 60 teams around the world replaced failing hearts in about 150 people. Barely 20% of the patients survived after twelve months. By the mid-'70s the operation was abandoned by nearly all its early advocates.

Now transplants are gaining new attention, largely because of a rising success rate at California's Stanford University Medical Center, where 199 heart exchanges have been performed since 1968. About 65% of the patients treated there...

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