Pig's heart, man's body

A team of American surgeons successfully transplanted the heart of a genetically modified pig into a human for the first time, reported the University of Maryland Medical School.

The operation was carried out last Friday and demonstrated for the first time that the heart of an animal can continue to beat in a human without immediate rejection, explained a statement, according to the AFP news agency.

The 57-year-old patient David Bennett, who was unfit for a human transplant, is under medical surveillance to determine how the new organ is working.

“It was either die or have this transplant. I want to live. I know it’s a shot in the dark, but it’s my last option,” Bennett said the day before the surgery.

The patient, who has spent the last few months bedridden with a life support machine, added: “I look forward to getting out of bed once I have recovered.”

The Food and Drug Administration granted an emergency authorization for the surgery New Year’s Eve, as the last chance for a patient who was not suitable for a conventional transplant.

“This was revolutionary surgery and it brings us one step closer to solving the organ shortage crisis,” said Bartley Griffith, who transplanted the pig heart.

“We are proceeding with caution, but we are also optimistic because this first surgical operation in the world will provide an important new option for patients in the future, “he added.

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