From 2 – 4 December 2017, the “50 Years of Heart Transplantation: Courage and Innovation” Conference is set to be convened by the Christiaan Barnard Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery at  Groote Schuur Hospital where the first heart transplant was performed.

The conference will host more than 300 delegates from the all the major International Cardiothoracic Surgery societies, many international non-governmental organisations, as well as editors of major medical journals and representatives of pharmaceutical and cardiac device companies.

A day-long “South-North” Dialogue will focus on the plight of the millions of particularly young adults in low- to middle-income countries who suffer from potentially preventable rheumatic heart disease and who have no access to life-saving cardiac surgery to address its consequences.

Professor Peter Zilla, head of department, has indicated that at the conference, the signing of the ground-breaking Cape Town Declaration by many of the world’s most respected leaders in cardiothoracic surgery will aim to endorse the creation of an umbrella body which will oversee coordinated efforts towards expanding cardiac surgical capacity in low- to middle income countries.