US Surgeons Perform Second Pig Heart Transplant

25 Sept 2023 • A 58-year-old patient with terminal heart disease became the second patient in the world to receive a historic transplant of a genetically-modified pig heart on September 20. He is recovering and communicating with his loved ones. This is only the second time in the world that a genetically modified pig heart has been transplanted into a living patient. Both historic surgeries were performed by University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) faculty at the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC). The first surgery, was performed back in January, 2022.

  • The patient, Lawrence Faucette, had end-stage heart disease. He was deemed ineligible for a traditional transplant with a human heart, by UMMC and several other leading transplant hospitals, due to his pre-existing peripheral vascular disease and complications with internal bleeding.
  • This transplant was the only option available for Mr. Faucette who was facing near-certain death from heart failure.
  • He is currently breathing on his own, and his heart is functioning well without any assistance from supportive devices.
  • The physician-scientists are also treating the patient with a novel antibody therapy along with conventional anti-rejection drugs, which are designed to suppress the immune system and prevent the body from damaging or rejecting the foreign organ.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted emergency approval for the surgery on Friday September 15 through its single patient investigational new drug (IND) “compassionate use” pathway. This approval process is used when an experimental medical product, in this case the genetically-modified pig’s heart, is the only option available for a patient faced with a serious or life-threatening medical condition. The approval was granted in the hope of saving the patient’s life.

Source: University of Maryland Medicine | Read full story

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