Washington, 11 January 2022 (dpa/MIA) – US surgeons have successfully transplanted a genetically modified pig’s heart into a human patient for the first time.
A 57-year-old man with terminal heart disease received the organ in Baltimore, Maryland, on Friday, the University of Maryland School of Medicine said in a statement Monday.
“This organ transplant demonstrated for the first time that a genetically-modified animal heart can function like a human heart without immediate rejection by the body,” the statement read.
The hospital said the patient, a Maryland resident, was doing well three days after surgery and will be monitored for the next few weeks to determine whether the transplant has provided life-saving benefits.
He was considered ineligible for a conventional heart transplant at the Maryland facility as well as at several other leading transplant centres that reviewed his medical records.
“It was either die or do this transplant. I want to live. I know it’s a shot in the dark, but it’s my last choice,” the patient was quoted as saying a day before the surgery was performed.
He had been hospitalized and bedridden for the past few months and said he was looking forward to recovering and to getting out of bed.
The US Food and Drug Administration granted emergency authorization for the surgery on December 31.
About 110,000 Americans are currently waiting for an organ transplant, and more than 6,000 patients die annually before getting one, according to the US government’s organdonor.gov site.