chapter  36
The Long Journey to Cardiac Transplantation
Pages 5

It all began with Pien Ch’iao, a Chinese physician born in 430 B.C. As a celebrated surgeon of his time, he was introduced to two men who he found to have “unbalanced energy.” He pointed out to them that if their hearts were exchanged, equilibrium would be restored. His men agreed and strong narcotics were adminis­ tered that left them unconscious for 3 days. Their chests were cut open and hearts exchanged. Postoperatively, “powerful herbs” were administered to allow acceptance of the new organs. While likely myth, this illustrates the human intrigue with organ transplantation as a cure for disease and a very early knowledge of rejection.1