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Christian Cabrol

Memoirs

A brilliant surgeon, Christian Cabrol was the first in France and the second in the world to perform a heart transplant (1968); he was the first in Europe to perform a heart-and-lung transplant (1982); and he was the first in France to implant an artificial heart (1986).
In this book of memoirs he recounts how he was able to overcome the scientific and technical challenges of cardiovascular surgery because he had learned, in the United States, how to substitute anatomy with physiology in the surgical approach. He describes how familiarity with and meticulous control of blood flow made heart transplants possible; how understanding and knowing how to control the vascularisation of the lung walls enabled lung-and-heart transplants; and how advances in the field of microelectronics made the artificial heart feasible.
He describes how, despite the difficulties involved, he was able to create a heart institute at the cutting-edge of research, which has successfully wrestled with the problems of health costs and opened new perspectives for the future by seeking solutions to problems arising from organ rejection.

Christian Cabrol was formerly a cardiovascular surgeon at Hôpital de la Pitié-Salpêtrière, Paris, and a professor of surgery at the Medical Faculty of Paris. He is a member of the French Academy of Medicine and the author of Mes 400 greffes cardiaques (1987), Paroles de médecin (1991), Le Don de soi (1995) and Une Histoire de coeur (1999).