Could pigs be the organ donors of the future?

In January this year, a man got his new heart from a pig.
Loukia Papadopoulos

If the video player is not working, you can watch the video from this alternative link.
It all began with the story of one man: a patient called David Bennett. Bennett r
equired emergency surgery due to a case of uncontrolled arrhythmia – an irregular heartbeat.

His state was so bad that doctors deemed him unfit for an artificial heart pump or a typical transplant. Running out of options, Bennett signed up for an experimental procedure called xenotransplantation (the process of transplanting organs or tissues between species).

In January of 2022, Bennett was set to receive a heart from a pig.

Pigs were chosen for this procedure because their circulatory systems and organs are very similar to humans’. Doctors had previously successfully transplanted pig kidneys into primates and felt it was time to try the procedure on humans.

In fact, this process had already begun with a 2021 trial where surgeons at N.Y.U Langone Health attached a modified pig kidney to a brain-dead human. The results proved very promising and now doctors felt ready to try xenotransplantation on humans.

So how did the surgery go? Did it open new doors for more xenotransplantation on humans? Did Bennett recover well and how is he doing now? What are the long-term effects of the procedure? This video answers all these questions and more.

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