The US performed the first human pig heart transplant

Doctors at a hospital in Maryland, USA, successfully performed the first human pig heart transplant.

On January 7, doctors at the University of Maryland Medical Center used a heart from a pig that has been genetically engineered to limit its ability to be rejected in the human body. The seven-hour surgery was performed by Dr. Bartley Griffith at the hospital in Baltimore, Maryland.

The hospital said the patient was still healthy, but it was too early to say whether the surgery would really work.

Picture 1 of The US performed the first human pig heart transplant
Doctors at a hospital in Maryland have successfully performed the first human pig heart transplant.

The patient who received a heart transplant was Mr. David Bennett, 57 years old, suffering from heart failure and irregular heartbeat. He accepted the pig heart transplant trial because he was ineligible for a human heart transplant or a heart pump.

By January 10, Mr. Bennett was able to breathe on his own, although he still had to use assistive equipment. The coming weeks will be a critical period in his recovery.

Before performing surgery on Mr. Bennett, Dr. Griffith had transplanted pig hearts into about 50 baboons over the past five years.

Currently, hospitals around the world are facing a shortage of organ donors for transplant. Therefore, scientists and technology companies are trying to figure out how to use animal organs as a substitute for human organs.

The heart used in the historic surgery on January 7 was provided by Revivicor - a subsidiary of biotech group United Therapeutics.

Dr David Klassen, medical director of the National Transplantation System Monitoring Organization (UNOS), said the Maryland operation was the first step in assessing whether the transplant would work or not.

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