Man Receives Modified Pig Heart in Successful Heart Transplant


akeg / Eric Schmuttenmaer from Wheaton, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Doctors above use a pig heart in a bypass surgery. Recently, doctors in Maryland used a genetically modified pig heart to replace a failed human heart in a living patient.

For the first time in medical history, doctors transplanted a modified pig heart into a human patient. The recipient is still alive and well more than two weeks later, as he continues to recover from the surgery. This surgery is notable because it marks a breakthrough in the ongoing research into replacing human organs for transplant. If this surgery proves successful long term it could potentially save hundreds of thousands of lives. The recipient’s name is David Bennet. Mr. Bennet was ineligible for a human heart transplant because he had failed to follow the actions prescribed to him by doctors. The pig heart transplant was the last chance he had before dying. Some of his doctors were worried that his body would reject the heart, and he also ran a risk of catching a disease hidden inside the heart. Those fears have been unfounded so far, as the surgery was successful. This is very good news for those who are waiting for organs. More than 100,000 people in the US are waiting for organs and only 60% of people are registered as organ donors. Around 17 people of all ages die a day waiting for a healthy organ. Although animal organs are beginning to be used this should not discourage people from registering as organ donors.When asked their opinion on the subject, Brad Davidson, 11,  said “This is a good thing.” Junior Evan Morgan said, “It’s good to see breakthroughs like this.” Max Rhoades, 11,  said, “This is very interesting”. The common consensus among LCA students seems to be that they like to see things like this happening in the medical field.