A 57-year-old man who was suffering from a life-threatening heart disease received a heart from a genetically modified pig. This process now offers hope to many patients with failing organs. It's the first time a pig's heart was successfully transplanted into a human being. According to surgeons at the University of Maryland Medical Center, the eight-hour procedure took place in Baltimore on Friday, and the patient, David Bennett Sr. of Maryland, was doing well on Monday. Bennett was bedridden for the last few months and was on a heart-lung bypass machine. After the operation, he said that he is looking forward to getting out of bed once he recovers.
He said that "It was either to die or do this transplant. I want to live. I know it's a shot in the dark, but it's my last choice."
Bartley Griffith, who surgically transplanted the pig heart said that this was a breakthrough surgery and brings us one step closer to solving the organ shortage crisis.
He further stated that "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."
Muhammad Mohiuddin, who co-founded the university's cardiac xenotransplantation program said that "The successful procedure provided valuable information to help the medical community improve this potentially life-saving method in future patients."
According to the United Network for Organ Sharing, more than 40,000 Americans received transplanted organs, more than half of them received kidneys. But there is an acute shortage of organs, and about a dozen people on the list die each day.
Scientists have been working hard for the past decade to develop pigs whose organs would not be rejected by the human body, with new gene editing and cloning technologies. The heart transplant comes only months after surgeons in New York successfully transplanted a kidney to a brain-dead person from a genetically modified pig.