MARSEILLES, France — Emmanuel Vitria, who 18 1/2 years ago received the heart of a young traffic accident victim and became the world's longest surviving heart transplant patient, died Monday. He was 67.
Vitria died of heart and respiratory problems at Salvator Hospital in the presence of his wife and three children, said his doctor, Jean-Raoul Monties.
Monties was part of the team that performed the heart transplant on Nov. 27, 1968, giving Vitria the heart of Pierre Ponson, a 20-year-old sailor killed in an accident.
The surgery came 11 months after the first heart transplant surgery by Dr. Christiaan Barnard in South Africa.
Vitria's transplant was the ninth in the world and the second performed in France. From then on he received checkups every two weeks but led an active life.