The history of heart transplantation can be traced back to the late 1700s, the early days of field of immunology. The antigens, antibodies, blood typing and host resistance theory were discovered during this period. Towards the end of the 19th century, organ transplants were started in the lab research.
In 1958, cardiac catheterization was understood through the works of Dr. Dickinson Richards. Dr. Keith Reemtsma led the research that found the effect of immunosuppressive agents. Dr. Norman Shumway and his group came up with the technique of topical hypothermia that facilitated heart surgeries outside the body.
As a culmination of all this, in 1967, Dr. Chiristiaan Barnad, performed the first successful human heart transplantation in Cape Town, South Africa.