U.S. surgeons have successfully transplanted a genetically modified pig’s heart into a human patient for the first time.
A 57-year-old man with terminal heart disease received the organ in Baltimore, Maryland, on Friday, the University of Maryland School of Medicine said in a statement.
“This organ transplant demonstrated for the first time that a genetically-modified animal heart can function as a human heart without immediate rejection by the body,’’ the statement announced.
The hospital said the patient, a Maryland resident, was doing well three days after surgery.
It added that he would be monitored for the next few weeks to determine whether the transplant had provided life-saving benefits.
He was considered ineligible for a conventional heart transplant at the Maryland facility as well as at several other leading transplant centres that reviewed his medical records.
“It was either to die or do this transplant. I want to live. I know it’s a shot in the dark, but it’s my last choice,’’ the patient was quoted as saying a day before the surgery was performed.
He had been hospitalised and bedridden for the past few months and said he was looking forward to recovering and to getting out of bed.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted emergency authorisation for the surgery on Dec. 31, 2021.
About 110,000 Americans are currently waiting for an organ transplant, and more than 6,000 patients die annually before getting one, according to the U.S government’s organdonor.gov site.