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9 months ago

US Man Dies 40 Days After Receiving World’s Second Pig Heart Transplant

The second person to receive a transplanted heart from a pig has died, 40 days after the highly experimental surgery, CNN reported. Lawrence Faucette, 58, was dying from heart failure when he received the genetically modified pig heart on September 20. According to the University of Maryland School of Medicine, the heart had seemed healthy for the first month but began showing signs of rejection in recent days. He lived for nearly six weeks after the surgery and died on Monday.


”Mr. Faucette had made significant progress after his surgery, engaging in physical therapy, spending time with family members, and playing cards with his wife, Ann. In recent days, his heart began to show initial signs of rejection –the most significant challenge with traditional transplants involving human organs as well. Despite the medical team’s greatest efforts, Mr. Faucette ultimately succumbed on October 30,” a statement released by the hospital said.


Mr. Faucette was a Navy veteran and retired lab technician at the National Institutes of Health. He had been turned down for a traditional heart transplant because of other health problems when he came to the Maryland hospital. Without the experimental transplant, the father of two was facing near-certain heart failure.


Mr Faucette’s wife, Ann, said her husband ”knew his time with us was short and this was his last chance to do for others. He never imagined he would survive as long as he did.”


”Mr. Faucette’s last wish was for us to make the most of what we have learned from our experience, so others may be guaranteed a chance for a new heart when a human organ is unavailable. He then told the team of doctors and nurses who gathered around him that he loved us. We will miss him tremendously,” Dr. Bartley Griffith, clinical director of the Cardiac Xenotransplantation Program at the University of Maryland School of Medicine said.


Transplanting animal organs into humans, called xenotransplantation, could offer a solution to the chronic shortage of human organ donations. However, these procedures are challenging because the patient’s immune system attacks the foreign organ. Scientists hoped that genetically modifying pig parts to make them more like human organs would work.


The Maryland team last year had also performed the world’s first transplant of a heart from a genetically altered pig into another man. He died two months after his transplant. David Bennett, 57, received his transplant on January 7, 2022, and died on March 8, the University of Maryland Medical System said in a statement.

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