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Patient with pig kidney transplant goes home from hospital

Rick Slayman was discharged from Massachusetts General Hospital just weeks after his four-hour surgery on March 16.
Patient with pig kidney transplant goes home from hospital
Posted at 10:45 AM, Apr 04, 2024

The world's first living recipient of a genetically modified pig kidney transplant has been sent home from the hospital. 

Rick Slayman was discharged from Massachusetts General Hospital Wednesday, just weeks after his four-hour surgery on March 16.

"This moment — leaving the hospital today with one of the cleanest bills of health I've had in a long time — is one I wished would come for many years. Now, it's a reality and one of the happiest moments of my life," Slayman said in a press release

The 62-year-old had been living with end-stage kidney disease before his procedure. He thanked his medical team for their exceptional care.

"I'm excited to resume spending time with my family, friends, and loved ones free from the burden of dialysis that has affected my quality of life for many years. Lastly, I want to thank anyone who has seen my story and sent well-wishes, especially patients waiting for a kidney transplant. Today marks a new beginning not just for me, but for them, as well. My recovery is progressing smoothly and I ask for privacy at this time," Slayman said.

Massachusetts General Hospital said the pig kidney was supplied by a pig donor that was genetically edited "to remove harmful pig genes and add certain human genes to improve its compatibility with humans." 

While Slayman's case is the first involving a pig kidney, there have been two previous pig heart transplants in living recipients. Both procedures were performed by the University of Maryland — one in 2022 and the second in 2023. The first recipient died two months after his transplant and the second died a month-and-a-half after. Learnings are being applied to increase chances of survival.

About 16 people die per day in the U.S. awaiting an organ transplant, according to Donate Life America.

There are currently over 100,000 people on the organ transplant waiting list, says data from Donate Life America. About 86% of patients on the list are waiting for a kidney.

SEE MORE: 2nd person to receive pig's heart dies 6 weeks after transplant


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