A 58-year-old man with heart failure who received a new heart from a genetically modified pig died Monday, nearly six weeks after receiving the pig’s organ, officials at the University Medical Center said Tuesday. University of Maryland.

Lawrence Faucette, of Frederick, Maryland, was the second patient at the medical center to have his diseased heart replaced with that of a genetically modified pig so that his organs would be more compatible with a human recipient and would not be rejected. by the human immune system.

The first patient, David Bennett, 57, died last year, two months after his transplant. He had developed multiple complications and traces of a virus that infected pigs were found in his new heart.

Both patients were suffering from end-stage heart disease when they received the transplanted organs, and neither was able to recover well enough to leave the hospital. But while doctors said Mr. Bennett showed no signs of acute rejection of the new heart, which poses the biggest risk in organ transplantation, they said Mr. Faucette’s transplanted heart had started to show some early signs of rejection.

“We mourn the loss of Mr. Faucette, a remarkable patient, scientist, Navy veteran and family man, who just wanted to spend a little more time with his beloved wife, sons and family.” , said Dr. Bartley P. Griffith, the surgeon who performed the transplant at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore.

Mr. Faucette was very engaged in his own care, reading and interpreting his own biopsies, said Dr. Muhammad M. Mohiuddin, professor of surgery and scientific director of the cardiac xenotransplantation program at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

“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 is not available,” Dr. Griffith said.

After surgery, the transplanted heart performed well, with no signs of rejection in the first month, and Mr. Faucette was able to undergo physical therapy in an effort to regain his ability to walk, according to a statement from the University of Maryland.

Like Mr. Bennett, the first patient to receive a pig heart, Mr. Faucette was rejected from transplant programs that use a traditional organ from a deceased human donor. He was too ill, suffering from advanced heart failure as well as peripheral vascular disease and other complications.

He suffered terminal heart failure in September. On December 14, when he was admitted to the University of Maryland Medical Center, and shortly before surgery, his heart stopped and he had to be resuscitated.

His wife, Ann Faucette, said at the time that the couple was keeping expectations low and only hoping for a little more time to sit “on the porch” and have coffee together.

After his death, Faucette said her husband was a kind and selfless man who hoped his experience would help save lives by advancing the field of xenotransplantation, or the transplantation of organs or tissues from an animal source. towards a human recipient.

“He knew his time with us was short and this was his last chance to do something for others,” she said in a statement.

Transplant surgeons at several medical centers have worked fervently to advance the field of xenotransplantation. Most work so far has involved transplanting kidneys from genetically engineered pigs into brain-dead patients kept on ventilators, to demonstrate that kidneys can produce urine and perform other biological functions. essential without being rejected.

More than 100,000 Americans live with terminal organ disease, and there is a critical shortage of human organ donors. Most of those waiting for an organ need a kidney, but fewer than 25,000 kidney transplants are performed each year and thousands die while on the waiting list.

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