Surgeons in US have successfully transplanted a pig heart into a human patient
A traditional heart transplant was ruled out for the 57-year-old Maryland resident
US doctors have successfully transplanted a 'porcine' heart into an adult person with end-stage cardiac disease in what has been labelled a 'first-of-its-kind surgery.'
The 57-year-old Maryland resident with fatal heart disease underwent a successful genetically modified pig heart transplant three days later and is claimed to be doing well.
"It was the only currently available option for the patient," the University of Maryland Medicine said on Monday (January 10, 2022) after performing the historic surgery.
"This organ transplant demonstrated for the first time that a genetically-modified animal heart can function like a human heart without immediate rejection by the body," the University said in a statement.
The patient, David Bennett, is currently being monitored to see if the transplant will save his life in the next days and weeks.
He had been ruled ineligible for a traditional heart transplant at UMMC as well as numerous other prominent transplant centres that reviewed his medical data, according to the university.
"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, who had been hospitalized and bedridden for the past few months, said before the surgery.
The surgical transplant of the pig heart, according to Bartley P Griffith, MD, was a "breakthrough surgery" that "brings us one step closer to solving the organ scarcity dilemma."
"We are proceeding cautiously, but we are also optimistic that this first-in-the-world surgery will provide an important new option for patients in the future," Griffith said.
The US Food and Drug Administration, using its extended access (compassionate use) option, had granted emergency authorization for the surgery on New Year's Eve.
It's utilised when a patient with a critical or life-threatening medical condition has no other option except to employ an experimental medicinal product, in this case, a genetically modified pig's heart.