Second-ever pig heart transplant recipient dies six weeks after surgery


Lawrence Faucette, a 58-year-old man with end-stage heart disease, died Monday, more than a month after surgeons at the University of Maryland Medical Center successfully transplanted a pig’s heart into him, only the second time in history that procedure had been performed.
Pig Heart Transplant

The man received a pig heart last month and initially made “significant progress.”

Mark Teske/University of Maryland School of Medicine via AP

Key Takeaways
  • The University of Maryland Medical Center announced Faucette’s death Tuesday saying he began to show initial signs of rejection in recent days.
  • After his September surgery, Faucette made “significant progress” and was able to participate in physical therapy and spend time with his family, the medical centre said Tuesday.
  • Faucette was deemed ineligible for a traditional transplant using a human heart earlier this year because of a pre-existing condition, his doctors said.
Crucial Quote

“He knew his time with us was short, and this was his last chance to do for others,” Ann Faucette said following her husband’s death. “He never imagined he would survive as long as he did, or provide as much data to the xenotransplant program.”

Key Background

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave emergency approval for Faucette’s surgery through its “compassionate use” program on September 15, which allows experimental treatments to be used if it’s “the only option available for a patient faced with a serious or life-threatening medical condition,” doctors said. A pig heart transplant was deemed the only option for Faucette, who underwent the procedure on September 20. Days after the procedure, his doctors announced his heart was functioning well without “any assistance from supportive devices” and said he was able to breathe on his own and communicate with his loved ones.


Before Faucette, the same team at the University of Maryland transplanted a pig heart into David Bennett in January 2022. Bennett, who like Faucette was facing a grim prognosis before the procedure, survived the surgery but died two months later.

The Australian-founded company BiVACOR is seeking to make heart transplants obsolete with the testing of its permanent artificial heart planned to begin in humans in 2024.

Big Number

More than 103,000. That’s how many people in the U.S. are waiting for an organ transplant, according to the federal government’s Health Resources and Services Administration. More than 6,000 people die each year waiting for an organ transplant, according to the federal government’s

This article was first published on and all figures are in USD.

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