Patient who received pig heart, dies

MARYLAND. – Lawrence Faucette, the second living person to receive a genetically modified pig heart in a transplant, has died six weeks after the experimental procedure.

The University of Maryland Medical Centre, where the experimental procedure had been performed, said the heart began to show signs of rejection in recent days.

“Mr Faucette’s last wish was for us to make the most of what we have learned from our experience, so others may be guaranteed a chance for a new heart when a human organ is unavailable.

“He then told the team of doctors and nurses who gathered around him that he loved us.

“We will miss him tremendously,” Dr Bartley Griffith, clinical director of the Cardiac Xenotransplantation Programme at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, said in a statement.

Griffith had performed the experimental surgery.

Faucette, 58, was first admitted to UMMC on September 14 after experiencing symptoms of heart failure and underwent the experimental transplant six days later.

His heart disease and pre-existing conditions made him ineligible for a traditional human heart transplant.

“My only real hope left is to go with the pig heart, the xenotransplant,” Faucette told the hospital in an internal interview several days before the surgery.

“We have no expectations other than hoping for more time together,” his wife, Ann Faucette, said at the time.

“That could be as simple as sitting on the front porch and having coffee together.”

In the weeks that immediately followed the transplant, his doctors reported that he was making significant progress, including participating in physical therapy and spending time with this family.

One month after his surgery, his doctors said they believed his heart function was excellent and had withdrawn any drugs to support his heart function.

“We’ve had no evidence of infections and no evidence of rejection right now,” Griffith said at the time. − CNN.

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