Surgeons Transplant Pig Heart Into Dying Man In Second Operation Of Its Kind

Image not from story (Photo by BERTRAND GUAY/AFP via Getty Images)

Mariane Angela Contributor
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Surgeons in Baltimore have successfully conducted a heart transplant, replacing the heart of a man suffering from a terminal heart disease with a genetically modified pig’s heart, the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) announced on Friday.

Navy veteran Lawrence Faucette, 58, is the second patient for this kind of surgery. He underwent the operation on Wednesday and is currently “recovering well and communicating with his loved ones,” the medical team stated. Before the surgery, Faucette’s health was rapidly deteriorating with terminal heart disease, UMMC said.

“At least now I have hope and I have a chance. I will fight tooth and nail for every breath I can take,” Faucette said, the Associated Press reported.

The transplant operation was performed by Dr. Bartley Griffith, who also operated on the first patient. “It’s just an amazing feeling to see this pig heart work in a human,” Dr. Muhammad Mohiuddin said, the AP reported. (RELATED: Surgeons Give 57-Year-Old Man A Functioning Pig Heart In Historic Procedure)

A Maryland man, David Bennett, 57, was the first ever patient to receive such transplant in 2022. However, he died two months after the surgery. Though there were no signs of organ rejection, Bennett suffered multiple complications including traces of virus known to infect pigs found in his new heart. UMMC stated that they tested the pig used in the transplant last week.

“The surgical team within the University of Maryland Medicine demonstrated that the pig heart functioned well in Mr. Faucette and showed no signs of a hyper-acute immune rejection. He will be monitored closely for evidence of porcine-derived infections. Prior to the transplant, the donor pig was routinely screened for multiple porcine viruses, bacteria, and parasites, and the testing did not reveal any unexpected pathogens,” UMMC said in their statement.