Vladimir Demikhov

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Vladimir Petrovich Demikhov (Russian: Влади́мир Петро́вич Де́михов; (Khutor Kulikovsky, 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.[1] 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.

File:Bundesarchiv Bild 183-61478-0004, Kopftransplantation durch Physiologen Demichow.jpg
The last dog head transplant performed by Vladimir Demikhov on January 13, 1959 in GDR

Demikhov coined the word 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.[2] Christiaan Barnard, who performed the world's first heart transplant operation from one person to another person in 1967, twice visited Demikhov's laboratory in 1960 and 1963, and considered Demikhov his teacher.[3]

Demikhov died in obscurity in 1998, but he was awarded the Order of Merit for the Fatherland, 3rd class, shortly before his death. He had also received a USSR State Prize.

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[which?] 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.

Psychedelic rock musician Roky Erickson has a song called "Two Headed Dog (Red Temple Prayer)" which is about Demikhov's head transplant experiments.


  1. "Transplanted Head". Time. January 17, 1955. Retrieved 2007-12-16.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Demikhov, V.P. Experimental transplantation of vital organs. Authorized translation from the Russian by Basil Haigh. New York: Consultant’s Bureau, 1962.
  3. "Vladimir Demikhov: The Two-Headed Dog Surgeon". bored-bored.com. Retrieved 11 September 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>


  • Shumacker HB., "A surgeon to remember: notes about Vladimir Demikhov", The Annals of Thoracic Surgery, Vol 58, pp. 1196—1198.
  • Cooper DKC., "Vladimir Demikhov", The Annals of Thoracic Surgery 1995, Vol. 59, p. 1628.
  • Konstantinov IE., "A Mystery of Vladimir P. Demikhov: The 50th Anniversary of the First Intrathoracic Transplantation" The Annals of Thoracic Surgery, 1998, Vol. 65, pp. 1171-1177.

External links