Lawrence Faucette, the second living person to receive a genetically modified pig heart in a transplant, died six weeks after the experimental procedure. The University of Maryland Medical Center, where the experimental procedure was performed, said the heart began showing signs of rejection in recent days.
“Mr. Faucette’s final wish was that we make the most of what we have learned from our experience, so that others can be guaranteed a chance at a new heart when a human organ fails. is not available. He then told the team of doctors and nurses gathered around him that he loved us. He will be greatly missed,” said Dr. Bartley Griffith, clinical director of the cardiac xenotransplantation program 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 Sept. 14 after experiencing symptoms of heart failure and underwent an 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 is to go for the pig heart, xenotransplantation,” Faucette said at the hospital during an internal interview several days before the operation.
“We have no expectations other than to hope to spend more time together,” his wife, Ann Faucette, said at the time. “It could be as simple as sitting on the porch and having coffee together.”
In the weeks immediately following the transplant, his doctors reported that he was making significant progress, including participating in physical therapy and spending time with this family.
A month after his surgery, his doctors said they felt his heart function was excellent and they had stopped all medications to support his heart function.
“We have had no evidence of infection and no evidence of rejection at this time,” Griffith said at the time.
Doctors had treated Faucette with an experimental antibody treatment to further suppress the immune system and prevent rejection. However, organ rejection constitutes “the most significant challenge in traditional transplants also involving human organs,” UMMC said in a statement.
In a statement regarding her husband’s death, Ann thanked those involved in her husband’s care at UMMC.
“Larry began this journey with an open mind and complete trust in Dr. Griffith and his team. He knew his time with us was short and this was his last chance to do something for others,” she said.
According to the federal government, there are more than 113,000 people in the territory. organ transplant list, including more than 3,300 people in need of a heart. The group Donate to Life America says 17 people die every day while waiting for an organ donor.
In January 2022, the University of Maryland also performed the first such experimental surgery on David Bennett, 57, who died two months after the operation. Although there were no signs of rejection in the first weeks after the transplant, an autopsy concluded that Bennett ultimately died of heart failure following a transplant. “a complex set of factors” including Bennett’s condition before surgery. A case study published in the Lancet also noted that there was evidence of swine viruses that had not been previously identified.
The first man to receive a genetically modified pig heart in a transplant operation has died (March 2022)