First person to receive transplanted pig heart dies of heart failure, not rejection, prompts doctors

first man get a transplanted pig heart The death was caused by multiple factors, not heart failure, and not organ rejection, which the doctors involved in the trial called a success.

David Bennett, 57, received a genetically modified pig heart on January 7, after the Food and Drug Administration granted emergency authorization on New Year’s Eve.

Before the transplant, Bennett was hospitalized for six weeks with a life-threatening arrhythmia and was hooked up to a heart-lung bypass machine. He was in end-stage heart failure and was not eligible for a conventional heart transplant.

he died two months later,

Doctors involved in the study from the University of Maryland Medicine published a paper last month suggesting that a “complex array of factors” caused heart failure in a patient, according to a News release,

When the heart was first transplanted, “we were incredibly encouraged by his progress. His heart was strong, almost too strong for his weak body, but he had a strong will to live,” said a transplant professor , said study co-leader Bartley Griffith. at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

“Our findings at the autopsy did not show evidence of rejection,” Griffith, who is also clinical director of the cardiac xenotransplantation program at the school, said. “Instead, we observed that the thickening and subsequent hardening of the heart muscle leads to diastolic heart failure, meaning that the heart muscle was not able to relax and fill the heart with blood as expected. goes.”

According to the school, rejection and infection-preventing medication can cause heart failure, but so can muscle damage.

“Evidence of DNA was also found in the heart from a latent Pig virus called porcine cytomegalovirus (pCMV) through highly sensitive testing, which was first detected several weeks after surgery and later confirmed during organ autopsies,” the release said. Whether it is there or not is being investigated.

David Bennett Jr., right next to his father's hospital bed in Baltimore on January 12, five days after doctors transplanted a pig's heart into Bennett in an attempt to save his life.
David Bennett Jr., right next to his father’s hospital bed in Baltimore on January 12, five days after doctors transplanted a pig’s heart into Bennett in an attempt to save his life. AP. Via University of Maryland School of Medicine

Infection control measures were taken before transplantation and the heart was tested just before transplantation. However, the infection was confirmed during the post-mortem.

“We consider this to be an important learning experience,” said study co-leader Muhammad M. Mohiuddin said. “Knowing what we know now, we will change some of our practices and techniques in the future.”

The term xenotransplants, a term used for transplantation from a nonhuman species to a human, has been researched as the demand for organ replacement increases. According to the FDA, 10 patients die every day waiting for a donated organ.

Pig and cow tissues have been used successfully for valve replacement, according to Harvard University Medical School, Those valves typically last about 15 years and do not require the use of anti-clotting medications, unlike mechanical valves, which can last for the rest of a person’s life.

“We have entered a new era in organ transplantation,” said Bert W. O’Malley, president and CEO of the University of Maryland Medical Center. “While we still have a road ahead before xenotransplantation becomes an everyday reality, this landmark surgery brings a future that never thought possible within our reach.”

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