Welcome to Doctor Warrick's Podcast Channel. Warrick is a practicing cardiologist and author with a passion for improving care by helping patients understand their heart health through education. Warrick believes educated patients get the best health care. Discover and understand the latest approaches and technology in heart care and how this might apply to you or someone you love.
In this podcast, Doctor Warrick Bishop discusses the recent groundbreaking transplant of a pig's heart into a human at Maryland Hospital.
The patient was still doing well one month post-transplantation. The use of pig organs for human transplantation has been discussed for many years, but the difficulty lies in recognizing how the human body will respond to foreign tissue. Humans and pigs share a surprising amount of DNA material, and the evolution of transgenic pigs has been a process of many years. Pigs are not too dissimilar in size and heart structure to humans, and there is a need for organs, particularly hearts, as 15-20 people per day in the US are dying due to a lack of donor hearts. The biggest challenge is the risk of rejection due to the difference in tissue types, and anti-rejection medications lower immunity, increasing the risk of infection.
Pigs have already been used for pig valves in hearts, and cow-made valves are currently being used. The use of animal parts within humans is an extraordinary space, and we may see more of this in the future. This may be a strategy that will support the care for needy individuals over the next decade or two, while other mechanisms are put in place, such as gene sequencing or gene altering targeted therapies.
- A group of doctors at Maryland Hospital undertook the first transplant of a pig's heart into a human in early January 2022.
- One month post-transplantation, the patient was still doing well.
- Humans and pigs share a surprising amount of DNA material, and the evolution of transgenic pigs has been a process of many years.
- Pigs are not too dissimilar in terms of size and heart structure to humans, making them a potential source of organs for transplantation.
- The use of pig hearts could help address the shortage of donor hearts, which is causing many people to die in the US alone.
- Anti-rejection medications lower immunity, which can increase the risk of infection for the individual who receives a heart.
- Pigs have already been used for pig valves in hearts, and cow-made valves are also being used.
- The use of animal parts within humans is not new, and it is an extraordinary space that may see more developments in the future.
- Gene sequencing or gene altering targeted therapies may replace the use of animal organs in the longer term.
- The transplantation of a pig's heart into a human is an incredible development that could provide individuals with a replacement organ and support the future care for needy individuals over the next decade or two.
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