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The world's first human heart transplant was performed at Groote Schuur Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa, by surgeon Christiaan Barnard, on 3 December 1967. The 'new' heart functioned normally until the recipient's death from double pneumonia 18 days after the historic operation.

Today, worldwide, the overall survival rate is more than 85 per cent after one year and about 69 per cent after five years for adults.

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