A man from Maryland who underwent a second heart transplant involving a pig’s heart has passed away, according to the hospital.

The Maryland physicians reported on Tuesday that the second individual to undergo a pig-to-human heart transplant has passed away after almost six weeks since the groundbreaking procedure.

At the age of 58, Lawrence Faucette was facing death due to heart failure and could not receive a normal heart transplant. However, on September 20th, he was given a pig heart that had been genetically altered.

The University of Maryland School of Medicine reported that the heart appeared to be in good condition for the initial month, but began displaying indications of rejection in the past few days. Faucette passed away on Monday.

According to a statement from the hospital, Ann Faucette, the wife of Faucette, expressed that her husband was aware of his limited time with them and saw this as an opportunity to help others. He never anticipated living as long as he did.

Last year, the Maryland team successfully completed the first-ever transplant of a genetically modified pig heart into a terminally ill man, David Bennett. However, after two months, the transplanted heart failed for unknown reasons, although traces of a pig virus were later discovered in the organ. This initial experience prompted improvements, such as more thorough virus testing, before the team attempted a second transplant.

Dr. Bartley Griffith, the surgeon who performed the transplant at the University of Maryland Medical Center, stated that Mr. Faucette’s final desire was for us to utilize our lessons learned from this experience to the fullest extent.

Scientists have been attempting animal-to-human organ transplants, known as xenotransplants, for many years without success due to the rejection of the foreign tissue by the human immune system. However, they are now making another attempt by using genetically modified pigs whose organs are more similar to humans.

Faucette, a father of two and Navy veteran from Frederick, Maryland, was denied a conventional heart transplant due to additional health issues. He sought treatment at the Maryland hospital as a last resort, hoping for more time with his loved ones.

In October, the hospital reported that Faucette had the ability to stand and shared a video of him diligently participating in physical therapy to regain the necessary strength for walking.

Dr. Muhammad Mohiuddin, head of the team for cardiac xenotransplantation, stated that they will examine the heart’s performance while continuing their research on pig organs.

Scientists are optimistic that xenotransplants may eventually help alleviate the scarcity of human organ donations. Around 100,000 individuals in the country are in need of a transplant, with a majority hoping for kidney donations. Unfortunately, many will pass away while waiting.

Several groups of scientists have conducted experiments with pig kidneys and hearts in both monkeys and human cadavers, in the hopes of gathering enough data for the Food and Drug Administration to approve official xenotransplant trials.


The Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Science and Educational Media Group provides support to the Associated Press Health and Science Department. The AP is solely responsible for all of its content.