US surgeons make history with pig heart transplant into man

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US surgeons made medical history by transplanting a pig heart into a human and the patient has sur-vived three days so far, doctors said Monday.

The transplant, conducted at the University of Maryland Medical Center, was a desperate highly-experimental operation agreed to by recipient David Bennett, 57, because he was dying and there was no other choice available, Bennett’s son told the Asso-ciated Press.

“It was either die or do this transplant,” Bennett said in a statement the day prior to the operation. “I want to live. I know it’s a shot in the dark, but it’s my last choice,”

The pioneering transplant may open the door to future use of animal rather than human organs. The latter are in short supply from donors.

“If this works, there will be an endless supply of these organs for patients who are suffering,” said Dr. Muhammad Mohiuddin, scientific director of the university’s animal-to-human transplant pro-gram. There is a track record on animal organ trans-plants into humans — it’s called xenotransplantation — and it is not good. For example, in 1984, a baboon heart was transplanted into an infant and the baby lived for only 21 days.—AFP

 

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