Ghanaian to deliver lecture to mark World’s First Human Heart Transplantation.

Professor Yankah

Professor Yankah

A Ghanaian renowned Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgeon based in Germany, Prof. Charles Yankah is scheduled to deliver a lecture on Saturday, 2 December at Cape Town in South Africa, to commemorate the World’s First Human Heart Transplantation.

It is at the invitation of Petet Zilla, Head and Chair of the Department of Cardiac Surgery of the University of Cape Town Groote Schuur Hospital, where the first heart transplantation in human history was performed by Prof Christiann Barnard on December 3, 1967.

Prof Barnard made a groundbreaking World’s first heart transplantation by transferring the heart of a person who had just died of head injury ,  with the full support of the donor’s family , into the chest of 54 year- old Louis Washkansky who needed a lifeline.

After the heart transplant Washkansky lived for eighteen days but died of pneumonia.

Prof Yankah, the President of the pan-African Society for Cardiothoracic (PASCaTS) based in Germany, who hails from the Central Region of Ghana, is a World renowned Heart Transplant Surgeon having successfully performed a double organ (heart and kidney) transplantation in 1994 at the German Heart Centre in Berlin(GHCB).

He initiated an artificial heart programme, at the Cape Town Christiaan Barnard Memorial Hospital in which he collaborated with Dr Willie Koen,a South African Heart TransplantSurgeon to use the “ bridge-to-heart transplant” a  cardio-technology to  save the lives of candidates on waiting list.

End stage heart diseases are best managed by cardiac transplantation, but there are not enough donor organs to address the problem.

Consequently, heart surgeons use the mechanical heart technology known as the Destination Therapy, which allows them to treat more patients with end stage heart disease for different therapeutic goals as a bridge to heart transplantation as a support, as a bridge for recovery of the diseased heart muscle or as a permanent support.

He is a global player in his profession as a   consultant, educationist, teacher, and philanthropist. Some of his major works include initiation in 2007 till to date onsite tele-multi -institution cardiovascular education programme to promote north -south and south-south transfer of knowledge in cardiology and cardiac surgery and global network with sub-Saharan Africa Centres in Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda.

In collaboration with the GHCB and Cape Coast Teaching Hospital (CCTH) supported by Edwards Lifesciences Foundation and PASCaTS, he is doing a research on Rheumatic Heart Disease and developing cardiology programme at the new Ridge Hospital in Accra and the CCTH.

Professor Yankah received two awards for his experiment and clinical work in homograft surgery from Committee for Advancement of Cardiac Bioprostheses in 1988 and the USA National Institute of Heart in 1990.

By Salifu Abdul-Rahaman

 

 

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