First person to receive pig heart transplant dies two months after groundbreaking surgery

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David Bennett Sr, from Baltimore in the US state of Maryland, received the heart of a genetically-altered pig to replace his own on January 7, 2022.

Mr Bennett suffered from severe heart disease, and underwent the procedure at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore.

He had been sadly turned away from a number of waiting lists for a human heart before agreeing to the experimental surgery.

A spokesperson for the hospital told the New York Times: “There was no obvious cause identified at the time of his death.”

Mr Bennett was 57 years old when he died.

The operation to place a modified pig’s heart into a human was a pioneering one, and the first of its kind.

Dr Bartley Griffith, head of the cardiac transplant program at the University of Maryland Medical Center, described his optimism for the results just after Mr Bennett’s surgery in January.

He told the New York Times: “It creates the pulse, it creates the pressure, it is his heart.”

He added: “It’s working and it looks normal.

“We are thrilled, but we don’t know what tomorrow will bring us.”


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