First-ever pig-to-human heart transplant offers hope for thousands in need of organs


Karen Weintraub, USA TODAY

Jan 10, 2022


A Maryland man has now lived for three days with a pig heart beating inside his chest.


The surgery, at the University of Maryland, marks the first time a gene-edited pig has been used as an organ donor.


Dave Bennett, 57, agreed to be the first to risk the experimental surgery, hoping it would give him a shot at making it home to his Maryland duplex and his beloved dog Lucky.


“This is nothing short of a miracle,” his son David said Sunday, two days after his father's life-extending surgery. “That’s what my dad needed and that’s what I feel like he got.”


In the nine-hour surgery, doctors replaced his heart with one from a 1-year-old, 240-pound pig gene-edited and bred specifically for this purpose.


So far, Bennett is breathing on his own without a ventilator, though he remains on an ECMO machine that is doing about half the work of pumping blood throughout his body. Doctors plan to slowly wean him off.


Scientists have been working for decades to figure out how to save human lives with animal organs. Right now...


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