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Doctors combine a pig kidney transplant and a heart device in a bid to extend woman’s life
New York, April 24: Doctors have transplanted a pig kidney into a New Jersey woman who was near death, part of a dramatic pair of surgeries that also stabilised her failing heart.
Lisa Pisano’s combination of heart and kidney failure left her too sick to qualify for a traditional transplant, and out of options. Then doctors at NYU Langone Health devised a novel one-two punch: Implant a mechanical pump to keep her heart beating and days later transplant a kidney from a genetically modified pig.
Pisano is recovering well, the NYU team announced Wednesday. She’s only the second patient ever to receive a pig kidney — following a landmark transplant last month at Massachusetts General Hospital – and the latest in a string of attempts to make animal-to-human transplantation a reality.
This week, the 54-year-old grasped a walker and took her first few steps.
“I was at the end of my rope,” Pisano said. “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 and it could have helped the next person.”
Dr Robert Montgomery, director of NYU Langone Transplant Institute, recounted cheers in the operating room as the organ immediately started making urine.
“It’s been transformative,” Montgomery said of the experiment’s early results.
But “we’re not off the hook yet,” cautioned Dr Nader Moazami, the NYU cardiac surgeon who implanted the heart pump.
Other transplant experts are closely watching how the patient fares.
“I have to congratulate them,” said Dr Tatsuo Kawai of Mass General, who noted that his own pig kidney patient was healthier overall before the operation. “When the heart function is bad, it’s really difficult to do a kidney transplant.” (AP)

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