Doctors Transplant Pig Heart In US Man In Breakthrough Surgery; Know How The Patient Is Doing

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Baltimore: In a first-of-its-kind surgery, doctors have transplanted a pig heart in a US patient with terminal heart disease.

The patient, David Bennett (57), is doing well three days after the breakthrough surgery, the University of Maryland School of Medicine in in Baltimore, said on Monday.

“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 Maryland hospital.

Past such attempts — or xenotransplantation — have failed after patients’ bodies rejected the animal organ. In 1984, Baby Fae, a dying infant, lived 21 days with a baboon heart.

This time, however, the Maryland surgeons used a genetically-modified heart from a pig.

Surgeon Bartley Griffith said the surgery would bring the world “one step closer to solving the organ shortage crisis”, the Maryland hospital said in a release.

Bennett, who was bedridden for six weeks leading up to the surgery, said, “I look forward to getting out of bed after I recover.” On Monday, Bennett was reported to be breathing on his own, the BBC reported.

Last September, researchers in New York suggested these kind of pigs might offer promise for animal-to-human transplants. Doctors temporarily attached a pig’s kidney to a deceased human body and watched it begin to work.

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