Pig heart: The first person in the world to have a genetic implant in a genetically modified pig has died. David Bennett, who suffered from a heart attack, survived two months after undergoing surgery in the US.
But his condition began to deteriorate a few days ago, his doctors said in Baltimore, and the 57-year-old died on March 8.
Mr Bennett was aware of the dangers of surgery, admitting that before the procedure he was “shooting in the dark”.
Maryland Medical Center
Doctors at the University of Maryland Medical Center have been given special time by the US Medical Regulator to perform the procedure, on the grounds that Mr Bennett – who was not eligible for a transplant – would have died.
He had been asleep for six weeks before surgery, connected to a machine that kept him alive.
Mr Bennett underwent surgery on January 7, and doctors said that in the following weeks he spent time with his family, watched the Super Bowl and talked about wanting to go home with his dog, Lucky.
But her condition worsened, leaving doctors “confused”.
“He has proven himself to be a brave and respectable patient who fought to the end,” surgeon Bartley Griffith, who performed the operation, said in a statement issued by the hospital.
But Mr Bennett’s son, David Jr., said he hoped his father’s implant “would be the beginning of hope and not the end,” according to the AP news agency.
“Thank you for all the new moments, all the dreams. All the nights of sleepless nights that contributed to this historic endeavor,” he added.
Dr Griffith said earlier that surgery would bring the world “one step closer to solving the problem of dehydration”. Currently 17 people die every day in the US waiting to be transplanted, with more than 100,000 waiting lists.
The possibility of using animal organs in so-called xenotransplantation.
Surgeons in New York announced the successful transplant
In October 2021, surgeons in New York announced the successful transplant of a pig’s kidney into a man. At the time, surgery was the most advanced test in the field to date. However, the recipient on that occasion was dead, hopeless.
Pig heart transplantation for the first time was a milestone in medicine.
A major barrier to the use of organs of some kind is “hyperacute rejection”. The body sees the tissues as external so that it begins to kill the donated organ within minutes.
The hope was that 10 genetic mutations made in pigs.
It was a time of shock when the heart entered.
When I spoke to the team of surgeons a month after the operation. They said that there were still no signs of allergies. And that the donated heart was acting like a Ferrari engine. But they warned Mr Bennett himself that he was weak.
What has happened since then and the exact cause of Mr Bennett’s death is unclear.
The results of that study will determine how close. We are to the future of using pigs to address the global shortage of artificial limbs.