Royal Papworth Hospital has been leading the way in transplantation for more than 40 years. Transplantation of cardiothoracic organs began at Royal Papworth Hospital in January 1979, with the first successful heart transplant in the UK by Sir Terence English.

Following the appointment of our first transplant service director, Professor John Wallwork, who had completed his medical training at Stanford, USA, under the direction of Professor Norman Shumway, the UK's first successful heart-lung transplant was carried out in 1984, followed by the first heart-lung-liver transplant in the world in 1986.

Since 1991, all types of cardiopulmonary transplants have been carried out which include both single and bilateral lung transplants.


Leading the way in transplant - a timeline

  • 1979 - UK’s first successful heart transplant 
  • 1984 - UK’s first successful heart and lung transplant
  • 1985 - World’s first transbronchial biopsy to detect rejection in lung transplants
  • 1986 - World’s first heart, lung and liver transplant
  • 1988 - Papworth Hospital’s first single lung transplant
  • 1991 - Papworth Hospital’s first bi-lateral lung transplant
  • 1994 - Papworth Hospital’s first Ventricular Assist Device implant
  • 2006 - UK’s first beating heart transplant, using the organ care system
  • 2010 - First clinical EVLP case
  • 2011 - UK’s First Total Artificial Heart patient to go home
  • 2011 - Two thousand transplanted patients milestone achieved
  • 2015 - Europe's first Donation after Circulatory Death (DCD) heart transplant
  • 2018 - In October 2018, Royal Papworth carried out its 50th DCD heart transplant operation. The hospital's DCD heart transplant programme continues to be a world record 
  • 2019 - Royal Papworth performs world's first DCD heart-lung transplant
  • 2020/21 - A new, world-first paediatric DCD heart transplant programme is launched, in collaboration with Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London