First patient to receive pig heart transplant dies after 2 months
Driving the news: The hospital said David Bennett's condition began to deteriorate several days earlier but did not identify an exact cause of death.
- Bennett, 57, received the heart in a process known as xenotransplantation, which refers to the implantation of tissues and organs from a different species.
- The hospital said the transplanted heart "performed very well for several weeks without any signs of rejection."
Context: Around 110,000 Americans are waiting for an organ transplant and more than 6,000 die each year before receiving one, according to the Maryland hospital.
- Researchers hope the procedure can allow more patients to get needed transplants because of a shortage of donated organs.
What they're saying: "We have gained invaluable insights learning that the genetically modified pig heart can function well within the human body while the immune system is adequately suppressed,” said Muhammad Mohiuddin, a surgeon who pioneered xenotransplantation at the hospital.
- Bartley Griffith, the surgeon who performed the transplant, said, "As with any first-in-the-world transplant surgery, this one led to valuable insights that will hopefully inform transplant surgeons to improve outcomes and potentially provide lifesaving benefits to future patients."