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October 1972

A Perspective on Cardiac Transplantation

Author Affiliations

Stanford, Calif

Arch Surg. 1972;105(4):548-549. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1972.04180100003002

The mention of cardiac transplantation continues to elicit emotional comment from otherwise calm and studious clinicians and philosophers. For example, an editor of a leading medical journal has written a letter to Life magazine (Oct 8, 1971, p 26A) reiterating his belief that clinical cardiac transplantation should not be done until rejection is "solved," basing his opinion on the publication in that magazine of an abstract from a popular book by a nonscience lay writer, whose experience was limited to a single Texas city.

A review of the scientific data published in medical journals reveals, however, that the real situation with respect to heart transplantation is that it is neither a nostrum that has been exposed, nor a surgical panacea for heart disease. Indeed, we interpret the data as indicating that cardiac transplantation, despite several still poorly understood phenomena, is now a therapeutic modality for use in selected patients with

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