New York, Nov 1: The second man ever to receive a genetically modified pig's heart has died six weeks after US surgeons performed the second such historic transplant, doctors at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) announced on Wednesday.
Lawrence Faucette, 58, suffering from terminal heart disease became the second patient in the world to receive a transplant of a genetically modified pig heart on September 20.
The doctors in a statement said that Faucette had initially made significant progress after his surgery. His transplanted heart performed well, with no signs of rejection during the first month, and he also engaged in physical therapy to regain the ability to walk.
However, “In recent days, his heart began to show initial signs of rejection -- the most significant challenge with traditional transplants involving human organs as well," the doctors said in a statement.
"Despite the medical team’s greatest efforts, Faucette ultimately succumbed on October 30."
“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,” Bartley P. Griffith, MD, who surgically transplanted the pig heart into both the first and second patient at the hospital, said in a statement.
Incidentally, the first such surgery, performed in January, 2022, conducted on David Bennett by the same surgeons also died last year, two months after his transplant. He had developed multiple complications, and traces of a virus that infects pigs were found in his new heart.
“We intend to conduct an extensive analysis to identify factors that can be prevented in future transplants, this will allow us to continue to move forward and educate our colleagues in the field on our experience,” Muhammad M. Mohiuddin, Professor of Surgery and Scientific/Program Director of the Cardiac Xenotransplantation Programme at UMSOM.