In 1st, US surgeons transplant pig heart into human patient

AP News

Edited by Adeze Ojukwu

The medical world scored a major feat, as doctors transplanted a pig heart into a patient in a last-ditch effort to save his life in a Maryland hospital, United States of America (USA).

The US American has become the first person in the world to get a heart transplant from a genetically-modified pig, according to BBC.

This is coming few months after another US patient received a kidney from a pig.
David Bennett, 57, is doing well three days after the experimental seven-hour procedure in Baltimore, doctors say.

On Monday the team said he’s doing well three days after the highly experimental surgery.

‘While it’s too soon to know if the operation really will work, it marks a step in the decades-long quest to one day use animal organs for life-saving transplants. Doctors at the University of Maryland Medical Center say the transplant showed that a heart from a genetically modified animal can function in the human body without immediate rejection.’

‘The patient, David Bennett, a 57-year-old Maryland handyman, knew there was no guarantee the experiment would work but he was dying, ineligible for a human heart transplant and had no other option, his son told The Associated Press.’

‘It was either die or do this transplant. I want to live. I know it’s a shot in the dark, but it’s my last choice,” Bennett said a day before the surgery, according to a statement provided by the University of Maryland School of Medicine.’

According to New York Times, surgeons in New York successfully attached a kidney grown in a genetically altered pig to a human patient and found that the organ worked normally, a scientific breakthrough that one day may yield a vast new supply of organs for severely ill patients.

‘Researchers have long sought to grow organs in pigs that are suitable for transplantation into humans. Technologies like cloning and genetic engineering have brought that vision closer to reality in recent years, but testing these experimental organs in humans has presented daunting ethical questions.’

‘Surgeons at N.Y.U. Langone Health took an astonishing step: With the family’s consent, they attached the pig’s kidney to a brain-dead patient who was sustained on a ventilator, and then followed the body’s response while taking measures of the kidney’s function. It is the first operation of its kind.’

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