In January, the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) and the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) successfully performed a groundbreaking human porcine heart transplant procedure. This was the first successful transplant of a genetically modified pig heart into a human patient.
Bartley P. Griffith, MD, surgically transplants pig’s heart into patient, David Bennett. All photos from the University of Maryland Medical Center.
The heart transplant patient, 57-year-old Maryland resident David Bennett, has been closely monitored since the procedure to determine if the transplant is providing any life-saving benefits. He suffered from advanced heart failure and had been deemed ineligible for conventional heart transplantation at UMMC as well as several other leading transplant centers that reviewed his medical records. He was on ECMO life support and was not expected to leave the hospital alive.
“It was either die or do this transplant. I want to live. I know it’s a shot in the dark, but it’s my last choice,” Bennett said a day before the surgery. He had been hospitalized and bedridden for the past few months. “I can’t wait to get out of bed after recovering.”
Five weeks later, UMMC released an update, stating that Bennett was doing well and intended to watch Super Bowl LVI, something he never imagined possible.
Bennett and two of the doctors on his medical team who saved his life.
“More than a month has passed since David Bennett’s historic xenotransplantation surgery at the University of Maryland. In a recent video episode of News from the Frontline of Maryland Medicine, the doctors take stock of his state of health and the performance of his transplanted pig heart. Although his recovery has been slow, Bennett is looking forward to watching the Super Bowl and possibly returning home to see his dog Lucky,” UMMC said in a video statement released. The video discusses research on how the immune system regulates itself in the field of transplantation. You can watch the video here.
The transplanted pig heart continues to perform beyond expectations. “His heart function is excellent, his blood pressure is very good, in fact he is on medication to lower his blood pressure,” said Bartley P. Griffith, MD, Thomas E. and Alice Marie Hales, professor emeritus of transplant surgery. at University. from the Maryland School of Medicine, in the video. “That’s how good it is right now.”
Muhammad M. Mohiuddin, MBBS, professor of surgery and director of the cardiac xenotransplantation program at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, agreed that Bennett’s heart is fine. “We have several cardiologists trying to find a fault with her, but they haven’t been able to,” he said. “The heart is contracting vigorously as it should, he has shown no signs of rejection, we are introducing new metrics to measure his function, and all metrics are coming back as if his heart is like new.”
Mohiuddin describes Bennett as being highly driven. “Every time you talk to him, he wants to live.” Doctors will continue to monitor his condition closely and adjust his immunosuppressive therapy as needed.
VIDEO: Details on the first human heart transplant surgery in a pig
Learn more about this first case: www.medschool.umaryland.edu/news/2022/University-of-Maryland-School-of-Medicine-Faculty-Scientists-and-Clinicians-Perform-Historic-First-Successful-Transplant- of -Porcine-Heart-into-Adult-Human-with-End-Stage-Heart-Disease.html
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