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expert reaction to the death of the man who received a pig heart transplant in January 2022

It has been announced that David Bennett, the man who received a pig heart transplant in January 2022 has died. 


Prof Chris Denning, Professor of Stem Cell Biology at the University of Nottingham, said:

“I don’t think the patient’s death is much of a surprise – it is the first attempt of this transplant type and it was never going to be easy. What will be interesting is why the patient died. I note in the press release that there was no apparent immune rejection, which is a big step. The hospital did say the patient was very frail to start with, so it might be that he just wasn’t strong enough. The other concern that I raised in my previous comment1 was that although anatomy of the pig heart and human heart is similar, it is not the same. The extra pressures that the human heart has to produce to counter gravity and pump blood around a biped is much greater than that of a pig heart in a quadruped, and so the pig heart may have simply not been strong enough to survive in a human circulatory system. So, at this stage on the information that has been provided, cause of death could be anywhere from the patient being too frail or a pig heart not being compatible with the human circulatory system.”



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