David Bennett Sr.

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David Bennett Sr. (1964 – March 8, 2022) was an American medical patient. He was the first patient to have a xenotransplantation with a genetically modified heart. On January 7, 2022, aged 57, he received the heart of a gene-edited pig.[1] He was born in Maryland.

Bennett died in Baltimore, Maryland on March 8, 2022, at the age of 57.[2]

Disease, transplantation and death[change | change source]

Bennett suffered from advanced heart failure, accompanied by cardiac arrhythmias.[3] Due to insufficient adherence to therapy - among other things, he had not made sufficient efforts to control his blood pressure - the treating physicians saw him as unsuitable for an allotransplantation. There were doubts as to whether, given the very scarce human organs, one should be able to give one to a person whose subsequent compliance was not assured. Therefore, with Bennett's approval, an exemption was sought from the Food and Drug Administration to perform a pig heart transplant.[4][5]

The procedure took place on January 7, 2022 and was performed by US cardiac surgeon Bartley P. Griffith at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore.[6][7][8]

The clinic reported January 10 with video from the operating room and a picture of the isolated pig heart. The patient had survived the typical period of a rapid rejection reaction, was conscious and reflected on his situation. He knows it's "a shot in the dark," but it's his last chance. The clinic quoted him as saying he was looking forward to getting up soon.[9] By January 18, Bennett was off the heart-lung machine and able to communicate with those around him.[10]

One month after the procedure, it was reported that the patient remained bedridden. Attempts were made to mobilize him with physiotherapy.[11] A rejection reaction to the foreign organ had not materialized until then.[12]

Two months after the transplant, Bennett died on March 8, 2022,[13] after his health had deteriorated over a few days.[14]

About two months after Bennett's death, doctors announced that he had been diagnosed with a swine virus. It was also said that it was possible that the virus had been the cause of death. It could also have been silent and had no effect on the patient. A combination with other factors contributing to the cause of death can also be considered.[15]

References[change | change source]

  1. Rabin, Roni Caryn (January 10, 2022). "In a First, Man Receives a Heart From a Genetically Altered Pig". The New York Times. Retrieved January 10, 2022.
  2. "Man given genetically modified pig heart dies". BBC News. March 9, 2022. Retrieved March 9, 2022.
  3. https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2022/03/09/pig-heart-transplant-bennett/
  4. https://www.science.org/content/article/here-s-how-scientists-pulled-first-pig-human-heart-transplant
  5. https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-022-00111-9
  6. https://www.medschool.umaryland.edu/news/2022/University-of-Maryland-School-of-Medicine-Faculty-Scientists-and-Clinicians-Perform-Historic-First-Successful-Transplant-of-Porcine-Heart-into-Adult-Human-with-End-Stage-Heart-Disease.html
  7. https://www.washingtonpost.com/science/2022/01/11/pig-heart-transplant-genetically-modified/
  8. https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(22)00097-6/fulltext
  9. https://science.orf.at/stories/3210835/
  10. https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(22)00097-6/fulltext
  11. https://healthyduck.org/recipient-of-pig-heart-undergoing-physiotherapy-for-first-time-says-university-of-maryland-cbs-baltimore/
  12. Patient with transplanted pig heart is doing well
  13. https://www.bbc.com/news/health-60681493
  14. https://www.medschool.umaryland.edu/news/2022/IN-MEMORIAM-David-Bennett-Sr.html
  15. https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/may/06/man-landmark-pig-heart-transplant-death-pig-virus