Vladimir Petrovich Demikhov (Russian: Влади́мир Петро́вич Де́михов; Kulini Farm, July 18, 1916 – Moscow, November 22, 1998) was a Soviet scientist and organ transplant pioneer, who performed several transplantations in the 1930s and 1950s, such as the transplantation of a heart into an animal and a lung-heart replacement in an animal. He is also well known for his transplantation of the heads of dogs. He conducted his dog head transplants during the 1950s, resulting in two-headed dogs, and this ultimately led to the head transplants in monkeys by Dr. Robert White, who was inspired by Demikhov's work.
The first head transplant was actually done by Professor A. G. Konevskiy of the Operative Surgery and Topographical Anatomy Department of Volgograd State Medical University. The head transplant was not planned. Konevskiy had planned an experimental heart transplant but the puppy was involved in an automobile accident. Not wanting to "waste the sterilized operating table", the surgeon proceeded with the head transplant.
Demikhov coined the term "transplantology," and his 1960 monograph Experimental transplantation of vital organs, for which he received his doctoral degree, later published in 1962 in New York, Berlin and Madrid, became the world's first monograph on transplantology, and was for a long time the only monograph in the field of transplantation of organs and tissues. Christiaan Barnard, who performed the world's first heart transplant operation from one person to another person in 1967, twice visited the Demikhov's laboratory in 1960 and 1963. Barnard through all his life considered Demikhov as his teacher.
The Russian documentary "Experiments in the Revival of Organisms" depicts similar experiments carried out in the Soviet Union.
In popular culture
Film of this surgery appears in "La Rabbia" (Anger), a 1959 film in which Pier Paolo Pasolini and Giovannino Guareschi separately present hour long episodes of their opposing political positions. The surgery segment is in the second part by Guareschi who vigorously condemns it.
- "Transplanted Head". Time. January 17, 1955. Retrieved 2007-12-16.
- History of the Department of Operative Surgery and Topographical Anatomy of Volgograd State Medical University (Russian)
- Demikhov, V.P. Experimental transplantation of vital organs. Authorized translation from the Russian by Basil Haigh. New York: Consultant’s Bureau, 1962.
- Shumacker HB. A surgeon to remember: notes about Vladimir Demikhov/ The Annals of Thoracic Surgery, Vol 58, 1196—1198,
- Cooper DKC. Vladimir Demikhov/ Ann Thorac Surg 1995;59:1628
- Konstantinov IE. A Mystery of Vladimir P. Demikhov: The 50th Anniversary of the First Intrathoracic Transplantation/ Ann Thorac Surg 1998;65:1171-1177
- ASMO-press biography of Vladimir Demikhov
- Proceedings of the Athanasius Kircher Society: The 20 Most Bizarre Experiments of All Time