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US: Woman in New York receives pig kidney transplant after multiple organ failure, dies

Lisa Pisano, 54, received a pig kidney transplant in April after nearly dying of heart and kidney failure. However, doctors were forced to remove the pig kidney 47 days later after it was damaged by her heart medications, and Pisano was put on dialysis in vain.

Edited By: Aveek Banerjee @AveekABanerjee New York Published on: July 11, 2024 10:42 IST
Lisa Pisanom 54, received a pig kidney transplant in April
Image Source : AP (FILE) Lisa Pisanom 54, received a pig kidney transplant in April after suffering multiple organ failure.

New York: A woman died after receiving a pig kidney transplant, along with an implanted device to keep her heart beating, according to her surgeon, after she suffered multiple organ failure that saw her on the verge of death. Lisa Pisano, 54, suffered from kidney and heart failure when surgeons at NYU Langone Health performed the unusual pair of surgeries in April.

Pisano was initially recovering well from the dramatic surgeries, but about 47 days later, doctors had to remove the pig kidney and put Pisano back on dialysis after the organ was damaged by her heart medications. Despite the dialysis and implanted heart pump, Pisano eventually entered hospice care and died Sunday, NYU Langone transplant surgeon Dr Robert Montgomery said in a statement.

The process of pig organ-to-human transplantation, known as xenotransplantation, is not new in US hospitals. The research aims to one day shore up the dire shortage of transplantable organs. "Lisa helped bring us closer to realizing a future where someone does not have to die for another person to live. She will forever be remembered for her courage and good nature," Montgomery said.

In April, Pisano told the Associated Press that she knew the pig kidney might not work but “I just took a chance. And you know, worst case scenario, if it didn’t work for me, it might have worked for someone else.” She was the second person to receive a kidney from a gene-edited pig, after Richard "Rick" Slayman, who died in early May due to a "pre-existing heart disease".

More than 100,000 people are on the US transplant waiting list, most who need a kidney, and thousands die waiting. Several biotech companies are genetically modifying pigs so their organs are more humanlike, less likely to be destroyed by people’s immune systems.

In addition to the two pig kidney experiments, the University of Maryland also transplanted pig hearts into two men who were out of other options; both died within months. Nevertheless, doctors learned that along with research in donated bodies, there is some hope to begin formal clinical trials sometime next year with patients who aren’t quite so sick.

(with inputs from AP)

ALSO READ | Bangalore doctor performs UAE's 1st living liver transplant, father says 'Every day I was afraid of losing...'

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