Very First Successful Pig to Human Heart Transplant

By: Kyla Mitchell

On Friday, the University of Maryland Medical Center successfully transplanted a genetically modified pig’s heart to a patient with a terminally ill heart. The patient has now gone four days with a pig’s heart inside him. This was the very first pig-to-human heart transplant that was successful which gives hope for future xenotransplantations. 

57-year-old Dave Bennett decided to agree to the experimental transplant. According to USA Today, he hoped that the surgery would, “…give him a shot at making it home to his Maryland duplex and his beloved dog, Lucky.” In a statement, his son David, said: “This is nothing short of a miracle…” The surgeons used the heart of a 240-pound year old gene-edited pig, taking this surgery nine hours to complete.

According to AP News, Dave was breathing without a ventilator but still connected to an ECMO  machine which partially helps his new heart pump blood through his body. Scientists have been working for decades to figure out a way to help humans, on organ transplants lists, with organs from other animals and finally made a breakthrough with this transplant. 

Scientists stated that pigs have very similar organs to humans. With more than 100,000 people who are on organ transplant waitlists, this successful surgery has opened new doors for future human-to-pig transplants. The waiting lists have a chance to be over if surgeons continue to have successful transplants using pig organs. 

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