Magdi Yacoub

Sir Magdi Habib Yacoub
Born (1935-11-16) 16 November 1935
Cairo, Kingdom of Egypt
Nationality Egyptian/British
Education Cairo University
Known for Heart and heart-lung transplants.

Medical career

Profession Surgeon
Institutions University of Chicago
Harefield Hospital of Imperial College London
Specialism Cardiothoracic surgery;
heart transplantation
Notable prizes Order of Merit
Knight Bachelor
Order of the Nile

Sir Magdi Habib Yacoub OM FRS (Arabic: مجدى حبيب يعقوب [ˈmæɡdi ħæˈbiːb jæʕˈʔuːb]; born 16 November 1935) is a British-Egyptian cardiothoracic surgeon. He is Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Imperial College London.[1][2][3][4]

(Order of Merit) 2014

Yacoub's major achievements may be summarised:

He was involved in the restart of British heart transplantion in 1980 (there had been a moratorium following the series of three performed by Donald Ross in 1968), carried out the first British live lobe lung transplant and went on to perform more transplants than any other surgeon in the world. A 1980 patient, Derrick Morris, was Europe's longest surviving heart transplant recipient until his death in July 2005. This record was superseded by John McCafferty who received a transplant at Harefield Hospital in Middlesex on 20 October 1982 and survived over 33 years, until 10 February 2016. He was officially recognised as the world's longest surviving heart transplant patient by Guinness World Records in 2013. A March 1978 heart by-pass patient continues to live a very active and fruitful life (as of November, 2016).

Early life and career

The son of a surgeon of a Coptic Christian family, Yacoub was born on 16 November 1935 in Belbis, Ashraqya, Egypt. He studied at Cairo University and qualified as a doctor in 1957. He reportedly said he decided to specialise in heart surgery after an aunt died of heart disease in her early 20s. He moved to Britain in 1962, then taught at the University of Chicago. He became a consultant cardiothoracic surgeon at Harefield Hospital in 1973. As a visiting professor to the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Yacoub, Fabian Udekwu and others performed the first open heart surgery in Nigeria in 1974.[5]

The Harefield transplant programme

Under Yacoub's leadership, the Harefield Hospital transplant programme began in 1980 and by the end of the decade he and his team had performed 1000 of the procedures and Harefield Hospital had become the leading UK transplant centre. During this period there was an increase in post-operative survival rates, a reduction in the recovery periods spent in isolation and in the financial cost of each procedure. To remove donor hearts, he would travel thousands of miles each year in small aircraft or helicopters. Most of his patients received treatment under the National Health Service, but some private foreign patients were also treated.

In December 1983 Yacoub performed the UK's first heart and lung transplant at Harefield.[6]

He was appointed professor at the National Heart and Lung Institute in 1986, and was involved in the development of the techniques of heart and heart-lung transplantation.

Recent work

Having retired from performing surgery for the National Health Service in 2001 at the age of 65, Yacoub continues to act as a high-profile consultant and ambassador for the benefits of transplant surgery. He continues to operate on children through his charity, Chain of Hope.

In 2006 he briefly came out of retirement to advise on a complicated procedure which required removing a transplant heart from a patient whose own heart had recovered. The patient's original heart had not been removed during transplant surgery nearly a decade earlier in the hope it might recover.[7]

In April 2007, it was reported that a British medical research team led by Yacoub had grown part of a human heart valve , from stem cells; a first.[8]

Other activities and achievements

Honours and awards

Yacoub was knighted in 1992 and awarded the Order of Merit by HM The Queen in the 2014 New Year Honours.[11]

Guinness World record

John McCafferty, an Englishman, received his new heart on 20 October 1982 in a procedure carried out by Yacoub.[12] As of December 2013 McCafferty entered the record books as the world's longest-surviving heart transplant patient, surpassing the previous Guinness World Record of 30 years, 11 months and 10 days set by an American man who died in 2009.[13]

Curriculum vitae


  1. Burke, K. (2002). "Overseas talent can help us build a better NHS, says Magdi Yacoub". BMJ (Clinical research ed.). 324 (7337): 565. doi:10.1136/bmj.324.7337.565/c. PMC 1122503Freely accessible. PMID 11884312.
  2. Bonn, D. (2000). "Magdi Yacoub: A surgeon and a scientist". The Lancet. 355 (9202): 474–475. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(00)82027-9. PMID 10841138.
  3. Yacoub, M. (2006). "Pioneers in cardiology: Sir Magdi Yacoub". Circulation. 113 (12): f46–f47. PMID 16570370.
  4. Rosenthal, N. (2009). "Taking translational research to heart: An interview with Sir Magdi Yacoub". Disease Models & Mechanisms. 2 (9–10): 433–435. doi:10.1242/dmm.004176. PMID 19726801.
  5. John C. Eze, Ndubueze Ezemba ,Open-Heart Surgery in Nigeria Indications and Challenges, Tex Heart Inst J. 2007; 34(1): 8–10.
  6. "Transplant makes British medical history". On This Day. BBC News. 6 December 1983. Retrieved 19 September 2014.
  7. "Revolutionary heart op for girl". Health. BBC News. 13 April 2006. Retrieved 23 November 2007.
  8. Jha, Alok (2 April 2007). "British team grows human heart valve from stem cells". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 23 November 2007.
  9. Chain of Hope
  10. From the municipality of Bergamo website
  11. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 60728. p. 2. 31 December 2013.
  12. Pioneering heart transplant patient who was given five years to live dies THIRTY THREE years later (and not from heart disease)
  13. Prynne, Miranda (24 December 2013). "Brit sets new record for longest surviving heart transplant patient". The Daily Telegraph. United Kingdom. Retrieved 19 September 2014.

External links

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