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Sir Magdi Habib Yacoub OM FRS (Arabic: د/مجدى حبيب يعقوب[ˈmæɡdi ħæˈbiːb jæʕˈʔuːb]; born 16 November 1935) is a Coptic[1] Egyptian-British cardiothoracic surgeon. He is Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Imperial College London.[2][3][4][5]

Magdi Yacoub
M Yacoub.JPG
Yacoub in 2008
Born (1935-11-16) 16 November 1935 (age 83)
EducationCairo University
Known forHeart and heart–lung transplants
Medical career
InstitutionsUniversity of Chicago
Harefield Hospital of Imperial College London
Sub-specialtiesCardiothoracic surgery;
heart transplantation
AwardsOrder of Merit (Commonwealth realms) ribbon.png Order of Merit
Knight-Bachelor.ribbon.png Knight Bachelor
EGY Order of the Nile - Grand Officer BAR.png Order of the Nile
(Order of Merit) 2014

He was involved in the restart of British heart transplantation 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.

He is also the head of Magdi Yacoub heart foundation, which launched Aswan Heart project.[6]


Early life and educationEdit

The son of a surgeon, Yacoub was born on 16 November 1935 in Bilbeis, Al Sharqia, Egypt. He reportedly said he decided to specialise in heart surgery after an aunt died of heart disease in her early 20s.He studied at Cairo University and qualified as a doctor with a Bachelor of Medicine, degree in 1957. He moved to Britain in 1962, and from 1964 to 1968 he was Senior Surgical Registrar, National Heart and Chest Hospitals, London

Professional careerEdit

Moving to the United States in 1969 he became Instructor and then Assistant Professor at the University of Chicago. Returning to England, he became a consultant cardiothoracic surgeon at Harefield Hospital in 1973. From 1986 to 2006, he held the position of British Heart Foundation Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College Faculty of Medicine.

As a visiting professor to the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Yacoub, Fabian Udekwu, C. H Anyanwu, FRCS and others performed the first open heart surgery in Nigeria in 1974.[7]

The Harefield Transplant ProgrammeEdit

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.[8]

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 workEdit

Having retired from performing surgery for the National Health Service in 2001 at the age of 65, Yacoub continues to act as a 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.[9]

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.[10]

Celebrity patientsEdit

Between August and October 1988 Greek Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou was hospitalized at Harefield, which he entered at a very critical condition, and Yacoub performed an open heart triple bypass surgery on the Prime Minister, saving his life.[11][12] Yacoub has since become famous in Greece (Papandreou's health problems and surgery were the top news stories in Greece for months), and Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou himself said that Yacoub saved him.[13]

Among celebrities whose lives he extended was the comedian Eric Morecambe. He was also known to have treated the famous Egyptian actor Omar Sharif, urging the latter to give up the cigarettes that had led to his heart attack. In 2002, he was selected to head a government recruitment drive for overseas doctors. He has had a house named after him at The Petchey Academy which opened in September 2006. He established the Aswan Heart Center in April 2009.[14]

Guinness World record patientsEdit

His 1980 patient, Derrick Morris, was Europe's longest surviving heart transplant recipient at 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 in a procedure carried out by Yacoub and survived for more than 33 years, until 10 February 2016. He was recognised as the world's longest surviving heart transplant patient by Guinness World Records in 2013,[15] [16] surpassing the previous Guinness World Record of 30 years, 11 months and 10 days set by an American man who died in 2009.[17]

Honours and awardsEdit

  • 1988: Bradshaw Lecture, Royal College of Physicians
  • 1998: Texas Heart Institute Ray C. Fish Award for Scientific Achievement in Cardiovascular Disease
  • 1999: Lifetime outstanding achievement award in recognition of contribution to medicine, Secretary of State for Health (UK)
  • 2001: The Cleveland Clinic Foundation Heart Failure Summit : Kaufman Awardee
  • 2003: Golden Hippocrates International Award for Excellence in Cardiac Surgery (Moscow)
  • WHO Prize for Humanitarian Services
  • 2004: International Society for Heart & Lung Transplantation Lifetime Achievement Award
  • 2006: European Society of Cardiology Gold Medal
  • 2007: Daily Mirror Pride of Britain Lifetime Achievement Award
  • 2007: Honorary citizenships of the city of Bergamo, Italy[18]
  • 2007: Medal of Merit, President, International Academy of Cardiovascular Sciences
  • 2011: Order of the Nile for science and humanity
  • 2012: American College of Cardiology Legend of Cardiovascular Medicine
  • 2015: Lister Medal for contributions to surgical science.

Yacoub was knighted in the 1992 New Year Honours and awarded the Order of Merit by HM The Queen in the 2014 New Year Honours.[19]

See alsoEdit

  • Derrick Morris, received heart transplant at Harefield, became Europe's longest surviving recipient


  1. ^ Bibi-Aisha, Wadvalla. "Religious bias in Egypt's universities". Nature Middle East. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
  2. ^ 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 1122503. PMID 11884312.
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ Yacoub, M. (2006). "Pioneers in cardiology: Sir Magdi Yacoub". Circulation. 113 (12): f46–f47. PMID 16570370.
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ "Home - Aswan Heart Center". Retrieved 9 February 2017.
  7. ^ John C. Eze, Ndubueze Ezemba, Open-Heart Surgery in Nigeria Indications and Challenges, Tex Heart Inst J. 2007; 34(1): 8–10.
  8. ^ "Transplant makes British medical history", On This Day, BBC News, 6 December 1983, retrieved 19 September 2014
  9. ^ "Revolutionary heart op for girl". Health. BBC News. 13 April 2006. Retrieved 23 November 2007.
  10. ^ Jha, Alok (2 April 2007). "British team grows human heart valve from stem cells". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 23 November 2007.
  11. ^ "Nation waits as Papandreou weakens". The Independent. 29 November 1995. Retrieved 17 March 2018.
  12. ^ "Surgeon in bid to save ailing leader British doctor says Papandreou still has chance". HeraldScotland. Retrieved 17 March 2018.
  13. ^ Kostas Tsimas, Selides Zois: Agones gia tin Eleftheria kai tin Dimokratia, 2004,
  14. ^ "What we do". Chain of Hope. Retrieved 17 March 2018.
  15. ^ "The Telegraph - John McCafferty Longest Living Heart Transplantation Survival",, retrieved 9 February 2017
  16. ^ Pioneering heart transplant patient who was given five years to live dies THIRTY THREE years later (and not from heart disease)
  17. ^ Prynne, Miranda (24 December 2013). "Brit sets new record for longest surviving heart transplant patient". The Daily Telegraph. United Kingdom. Retrieved 19 September 2014.
  18. ^ From the municipality of Bergamo website
  19. ^ "No. 60728". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2013. p. 2.

External linksEdit