- Surgeons from the University of Maryland Medical School conducted a first of its kind heart surgery on 7 January, 2022
- The surgery involved transplanting a genetically modified pig heart into a human who was close to death
- The doctor who transplanted the heart says this innovation in surgery could help solve the organ shortage crisis
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CHICAGO - In a historic move, United States of America surgeons successfully transplanted a genetically modified pig heart into a human in a historic surgical procedure. The first of its kind surgery took place on Friday, 7 January, 2022 at the University of Maryland Medical School.
The patient, David Bennett, aged 57, was diagnosed with terminal heart disease and needed a transplant, however, Bennett was not eligible to receive a human heart because of poor underlying health.
Bennett had been confined to a bed for a while and made the decision to go forward with the pig heart transplant because he wanted to live. He had been kept on a heart bypass machine which was keeping him alive, reports News24.
Dr Bartley Griffith who transplanted the heart stated that the surgery could help close the gap in organ shortages. The procedure was given a thumbs-up by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on New Year's Eve in a last attempt to save Bennett's life.
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The FDA gave the surgery emergency authorisation through the organisation's compassionate use programme, reports Reuters.
Bennett is said to be recovering well and can't wait to get out of the bed he has been confined to.
Surgery was based on years of research
The pig donor had gone through genetic editing procedures and three genes that would normally be rejected by the human body were removed.
One of the genes removed was the gene that would make the pig heart grow too large for the human body. Scientists also added six genes that would allow the human body to accept the heart.
A total of 10 genetic modifications were made.
Social media users share their thoughts on the pig heart surgery
Heading online, South Africans have shared a few thoughts about the historic surgery. Some people believe pigs will become more expensive as a result. Others had questions about the surgery.
Here are a few remarks:
"Pigs are going to be the most expensive and valuable creatures to ever walk this planet, who would have thought? Never say, 'Until pigs fly'....one of these days, they might just do that ."
"The pig value has suddenly changed after this."
"So a human heart functions the same as that of a pig?"
"Hence a human being is not supposed to eat pork meat."
"Suddenly, pig costs R200k."
"I wonder what will happen if this person wants to visit one of the churches that don't deal with anything associated with pigs."
135 Doctors to separate twins joined at the head
In other news, Briefly News previously reported that Ghanaian medical doctors numbering 135 are to come together in a historic event to separate two conjoined twins who are currently at the Greater Accra Regional Hospital.
A report by Portia Gabor of TV3 Ghana indicates that the mother of the conjoined twins is temporarily resident at the hospital following the birth of her babies.
Speaking to the issue, a medical expert indicated that R7.2 million will be needed to carry out the procedure, which will be the first of its kind in Ghana.
Source: Briefly News