Sir Magdi Habib Yacoub, FRS (Arabic: مجدى حبيب يعقوب ); born 16 November 1935 in Bilbeis, Sharqia Governorate, Egypt), is Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Imperial College London.
He was involved in the restart of UK heart transplantion in 1980 (there had been moratorium following the series of three performed by Donald Ross in 1968), carried out the first UK 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.
Early life and career
The son of a surgeon, Sir Magdi 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.
The Harefield transplant programme
Under his 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. In order 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. 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.
Having retired from performing surgery for the National Health Service in 2001 at the age of 65, Sir Magdi continues to act as a high profile consultant and ambassador for the benefits of transplant surgery. He continues to operate on needy children through his charity, The 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 off chance it might recover. In April 2007, it was reported that a British medical research team led by Sir Magdi had grown part of a human heart valve, from stem cells, a first.
Other activities and achievements
He is also notable for saving many lives by pioneering a technique for 'switching' the heart vessels of babies born with a congenital heart defect, which means they are the wrong way round.
In 1995 he founded the charity Chain of Hope in the UK. This charity aims to provide children suffering from life-threatening disease with the corrective surgery and treatment to which they do not have access.
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 spearhead 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 is one of few masters and teachers in the world of the highly technically demanding "Ross Procedure" (or pulmonary autograft)
Honours and awards
1992 knighted by HM Queen Elizabeth II
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
2011 Order of the Nile (Qiladet El Nil)
1957 Medical Bachelor, Cairo (Egypt)
1964-1968 Rotating Senior Surgical Registrar, National Heart and Chest Hospitals, London
1969 Instructor and Assistant Professor, University of Chicago (USA)
1973-2001 Consultant Cardiac Surgeon, National Heart Hospital-Royal Brompton and Harefield National Health Service (NHS) Trust, London
1986-2006 British Heart Foundation Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery
1986–present Professor of Cardiothoracic Surgery, National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College Faculty of Medicine
2001–present Founder and Director of Research of the Magdi Yacoub Research Institute, Harefield