The young Barnard family with new addition baby Deidre and Louwtjie pregnant with their second child, left Ceres for Cape Town. Here Barnard studied further and was awarded the MD degree for his dissertation on the treatment of patients with tuberculosis meningitis at the City Hospital for Infectious Diseases.
Chris Barnard then embarked on an intense surgical residency at Groote Schuur Hospital under the guidance of Jannie Louw, Professor of Surgery.
It was at this time that Barnard produced what was arguably his best research ever: the cause of intestinal atresia in neonates – a congenital disease that causes a blocked bowel which, if not remedied, swiftly kills the newborn.
It was this research which won Barnard a scholarship in 1956 to study cardiac surgery at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis under such medical giants as Owen Wangensteen (head of surgery), C, Walton Lillehei and Richard Varco.
In Minneapolis, Barnard’s research on intestinal atresia, “The Aetiology of Congenital Intestinal Atresia”, formed the basis of his dissertation for his PhD degree. He earned his Master of Science in Surgery degree for a dissertation on “The aortic valve – problems in the fabrication and testing of a prosthetic [artificial] valve”.