The First American to Receive a Heart Transplant From a Pig Has Died
Just two months after getting a heart transplant from a pig, a 57-year-old man has died.
It is incredible what science can do these days but at the same time, it is tragic what can happen along the way to progress.
First Man to Get Heart Transplant From a Pig
The first man to get a heart transplant from a pig was 57-year-old, David Bennett. He had heart transplant surgery on January 7, 2022, has tragically died two months after the surgery.
No exact cause of death has been listed but according to the University of Maryland Medical Center, Bennett's condition had begun deteriorating several days ago. Bennett and his family knew there was no guarantee going into the experimental surgery that he would survive but he was already facing certain death without the surgery.
How Did Surgeons Pull Off Transplanting a Pig Heart Into a Human?
Typically when these types of surgeries have taken place in the past, patients' bodies quickly reject the animal organ. What was different with Bennett's surgery was that scientists gene-edited the pig heart so his body would not reject the organ.
According to WOOD, Bennett was initially recovering after the surgery and was even able to watch the Super Bowl this year.
What is the Longest a Human Has Survived a Transplant From an Animal?
21 days was the previous record for a baby surviving a heart transplant from a baboon in 1984. Bennett survived his pig heart transplant for two months before passing away. This gave Bennett and his family two more months together.
Michigan Surgeon Was Part of the Pig Heart Transplant
One of the surgeons involved in the pig heart transplant was Dr. Barry Deatrick who grew up in the state of Michigan. Deatrick was a graduate of Sault Area High School in 1996. He went on to graduate from the University of Michigan School of Medicine in 2005. Deatrick's role in the surgery was the procurement of the pig heart.
Pigs Have Long Been Used in Human Medicine
Pigs and human medicine have been around a long time. Pigs have been used for skin grafts to heart valves and now gene-edited pigs. A lot has been learned from Bennetts's transplant that could lead to more successful attempts at pig organs being transplanted into humans.
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