The first patient who received a pig heart transplant dies two months ago

The first patient who received a pig heart transplant dies two months ago

The Faculty of Medicine of the University of Maryland (USA) has confirmed this Monday the death of the 57-year-old man who was able to transplant a genetically modified pig heart on January 7, in a surgery that was then described as "historic".

David Bennett, who had terminal heart disease, passed away this Tuesday, March 8. "Mr. Bennett has lived two months after the operation. His condition began to deteriorate several days ago," they report on the website of the university medical center . "When it became clear that he would not recover, compassionate palliative care was provided. He was able to communicate with his family during his final hours," they note.

"We are devastated. He has proven to be a brave and noble patient who has fought to the end. We extend our deepest condolences to his family," said Dr. Bartley P. Griffith, who surgically transplanted the pig's heart into the patient. "Mr. Bennett became known to millions of people around the world for his courage and his strong will to live," he added.

For his part, Muhammad M. Mohiuddin, Professor of Surgery and Scientific Director of the Cardiac Xenotransplantation Program at UMSOM, said he is grateful to Bennett for "his unique and historic role in helping to contribute a wide range of knowledge to the field of xenotransplantation."

David Bennett first came to the University of Maryland Medical Center as a patient in October 2021, where he was bedridden and placed on a cardiopulmonary bypass machine, called extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), to keep him alive. . He was deemed unsuitable for a conventional heart transplant. As the center reports, before consenting to receive the transplant, Bennett "was fully informed of the risks of the procedure and that it was experimental, with unknown risks and benefits." Finally, on December 31, the US Food and Drug Administration granted an emergency authorization for the surgery in hopes of saving his life.

After the operation, the transplanted heart functioned very well for several weeks without any signs of rejection. The patient was able to spend time with his family and participate in physical therapy to regain strength, the hospital explains. Before he died, he "was able to watch the Super Bowl with his physical therapist and talked often about his desire to come home to his dog Luck him."

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