A team of doctors implanted an artificial valve through a vein without cutting open the chest of a 14-year-old boy in Cape Town this week, The Star newspaper reported on Thursday.
It was the first time that an operation of this nature had been broadcast live.
The procedure was done on Gift Ihuhua from Windhoek, Namibia, who was born with a pulmonary atresia, a condition in which the pulmonary valve does not form properly.
Dr Steven Brown who performed the surgery said extensive preparation was done before Gift's procedure.
"We went through his groin with a 6mm catheter. The valve which was sewn from a cow's jugular vein, was sewn onto a stent and inserted.
"But before the procedure we had to ensure that the landing zone was stable. The first part of the surgery is the most difficult part."
He said the advantage of the procedure was that the patient remained stable afterward.
Nearly 400 heart specialists attending the World Congress of Paediatric Cardiology and Cardiac Surgery Conference watched the procedure.