Man Receives Heart from a Pig-First Time in History!

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pig (piglet), isolated on white, studio shot

This is the first time in the history of man that an animal’s heart has successfully been transplanted into a human.

“A 57-year-old man with serious heart disease was given a heart from a genetically modified pig in a new, unprecedented transplant operation

The New York Times reported on the “first successful transplant of a pig’s heart into a human being,” a procedure that lasted eight hours and took place in Baltimore, Maryland, on Friday. The man, David Bennett Sr., received the heart and was in good condition on Monday, per surgeons at the University of Maryland Medical Center. 

“It creates the pulse, it creates the pressure, it is his heart,” said Dr. Bartley Griffith, who carried out the operation. He is the director of the cardiac transplant program at the center. 

Griffith added, “It’s working, and it looks normal. We are thrilled, but we don’t know what tomorrow will bring us. This has never been done before.”

“This is a watershed event,” said Dr. David Klassen, the chief medical officer of the United Network for Organ Sharing and a transplant doctor. “Doors are starting to open that will lead, I believe, to major changes in how we treat organ failure.” 

“Events like these can be dramatized in the press, and it’s important to maintain perspective,” Klassen added. “It takes a long time to mature a therapy like this.” He noted that there are lots of challenges to surpass before an operation like this one could be widely done.

Bennett chose to go forward with the procedure because he would not have survived without getting a new heart, had already gone through with other treatments, and was not healthy enough to meet the qualifications for a heart from a human donor, per members of his family and physicians, according to the Times. 

Bennett is still on a heart-lung bypass machine, as he was before the procedure took place, but that is not uncommon for someone who has newly received a heart transplant, according to medical experts.

His physicians stated that he could be brought off the machine on Tuesday. He is also being carefully watched for evidence that his body is fighting the new organ transplant, but he got through the first 48 hours without problems, which is reportedly an important time period. 

“It was either die or do this transplant,” Bennett said before the surgery, according to authorities at the University of Maryland Medical Center. “I want to live. I know it’s a shot in the dark, but it’s my last choice.”

The outlet reported that the heart which was put into Bennett’s body “came from a genetically altered pig provided by Revivicor, a regenerative medicine company based in Blacksburg, Va.”

You can read the rest of the fascinating story here.




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