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Human Heart Transplants From Pigs: More Successful Than Anticipated

Heart Transplants

Human Heart Transplants From Pigs

We all recall the big news from earlier this year when a genetically altered pig heart gave a 57-year-old patient with heart problems a new lease on life. The man’s life was prolonged by a ground-breaking procedure marking the first time a pig heart had been xenotransplanted. Although the guy passed away after two months (presumably from a porcine virus), a new study reveals that the heart functioned more like a human heart than physicians had anticipated.

According to preliminary data presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions, the xenotransplanted pig heart beat more slowly than anticipated. In actuality, the man’s new heartbeat’s electrical signals were more similar and, in some cases, even exceeded those of a human heart.

“It’s certainly a remarkable result,” said Timm Dickfeld, an electrophysiologist at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, who led the study. “EKG measurements capturing the heart’s electrical activity were so distinct from a regular pig heart’s values.” He said, “These measurements were extended to what we see in a human heart, and frequently the measures even stretched beyond what we consider typical in a human heart.”



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