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A 24-year-old member asked:

Can you get a pigs heart transplanted into a human?

2 doctor answers3 doctors weighed in
Dr. Ankush Bansal
Internal Medicine 17 years experience
Yes & No: Hearts from pigs used to be transplanted into some patients years ago but not much anymore. There is too much risk from rejection, the need for a lot more meds than from a human transplant, and potential viral transmission. However, heart valves from pigs & cows are transplanted into some patients (the other type of valve being metal).
Dr. Stuart Flechner
Urology 46 years experience
Not today: Using animal organs for transplant, xenotransplantation, is a future consideration once the rejection barrier is better understood and controlled. There is ongoing work using porcine organs placed into primates, since they are close to human in tissue structure . An intriguing possibility is genetically engineering donor animals so that they will be less prone to trigger human immune responses.

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Last updated May 25, 2012

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