- The university stresses that surgery performed on Friday proved that an animal heart can continue to function in humans without immediate rejection
- David Bennett, 57, who received a pig heart, previously found ineligible for a human heart transplant
- He is now closely monitored by doctors and is still connected to an artificial heart-lung machine that supports his new organ
- More such stories can be found on the main page of Onet.pl
– Either death or this transplant. I want to live. I know this is quite a strange case, but it was my last chance – said a Maryland resident the day before the operation.
“I can’t wait to get out of bed when I recover,” said Bennett, who had been bedridden for the past few months and hooked up to the machine that kept him alive.
“This is a major surgical breakthrough and brings us one step closer to solving the organ shortage problem,” commented Bartley Griffith, who performed the transplant.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gave the green light for surgery on the last day of the past year.
The AP agency recalls that last year just over 3,800 heart transplants were performed in the US, which is a record number, but the biggest problem is the shortage of human organs for transplantation. “If this works, we will have an endless supply of these organs to patients in need,” said Dr. Muhammad Mohiuddin, scientific director of the transplant program at the University of Maryland.
The doctors explained that the pig from which the heart is derived has been genetically modified so that it does not produce the sugar that is normally found in all cells of these animals and that causes immediate rejection of the organ by humans.
‘This is the culmination of years of highly complex research to refine the technique in animals with more than nine months’ survival. The FDA used our data and that of an experimental pig to authorize transplant in a patient with end-stage heart disease who had no other treatment options, said Dr. Muhammad M. Mohiuddin.
The case of Baby Fae
The first xenotransplant attempts were made in the 1980s, but were largely abandoned after the high-profile case of Stephanie Fae Beauclair (aka Baby Fae) at Loma Linda University in California. An infant born with a fatal heart defect received a baboon heart transplant and died within one month of surgery due to rejection of a foreign organ by the immune system. However, pig heart valves have been used successfully for valve replacement in humans for many years.
Almost 110 thousand Americans are currently on the waiting list for organ transplants, and over 6,000 are on the waiting list. people who need a transplant die each year.
Source: PAP, University of Maryland School of Medicine
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