Researchers in New York placed pig hearts in two brain-dead people in June† This means that science is one step closer to saving human lives with animal organs, the news agency writes AP† Earlier this year, doctors tried to keep a dying man alive in the US with a pig’s heart.
Doctors on the medical team removed the hearts of genetically modified pigs, put them on ice, and returned them by plane to a teaching hospital in New York. They used new methods to detect animal viruses before placing the heart in the chest of the deceased.
It involved a veteran with a long history of heart disease and a woman who successfully had a transplant earlier in her life. After three days of tests that were more intense than a live patient would undergo, doctors switched off the ventilators.
Scientists have tested that it is important to practice on the dead. “We learned a lot from the first that the second one is much better,” said surgeon Nader Moazami, who led the surgeries. “You stand there in awe,” he said of the moment the pig’s heart begins to beat in the human body.
Attempts to transplant animal organs for years
Doctors and researchers have been trying to transfer organs from animals to humans for decades. These attempts were never successful, because the human immune system rejected the foreign tissue almost immediately.
Now pigs are genetically modified so that their organs are very similar to those of humans. As a result, there is increasing hope that pig organs will be able to compensate for the shortage of donor organs in the future.
In January, doctors at a Maryland teaching hospital transplanted a pig’s heart into a dying 57-year-old man. The man survived for two months, proof that pig organ transplantation is an option.
The first tests did not reveal the presence of an animal virus in the heart. According to the scientists, it is not yet clear whether the man died from the effects of the virus or from heart failure.
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