The University of Maryland School of Medicine announced on Monday that a 57-year-old man was doing well after receiving a genetically-modified pig heart in a first-in-the-world surgery.
According to the press release, David Bennett, from Maryland, had end-stage heart disease. Therefore, this first-of-its-kind transplant with a pigs heart was his only option for survival.
Previously, Bennett was told he was ineligible for a conventional heart transplant. However, he took this rare opportunity for a non-human heart.
“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 before the groundbreaking surgery.
In 2021, Bennett was hospitalised after suffering a life-threatening case of heart arrhythmia. Consequently, he was placed on a machines to keep him alive. On December 31, the US Food and Drug Administration granted emergency authorisation for the experimental surgery in a hope to save Bennett’s life.
Watch the video released by the University of Maryland below.
”This was a breakthrough surgery and brings us one step closer to solving the organ shortage crisis. There are simply not enough donor human hearts available to meet the long list of potential recipients.” stated Bartley Griffith, MD, who completed the surgery.
Indeed, Bennett will be monitored for the next few weeks and months to see whether the transplant has provided lifesaving advantages. However, there is a possibility he could still die.
Certainly, this pig-to-human heart transplant gives hope and optimism to patients globally waiting on transplants.
For instance, over 107,000 are waiting for organ transplants in the United States. Meanwhile, Kidney Health New Zealand estimates that around 500 people at any one time are waiting for a transplant in New Zealand.