Man dies weeks after receiving world’s second pig heart transplant

Navy veteran Lawrence Faucette, 58, survived for six weeks post-operation

Graeme Massie
Los Angeles
Thursday 02 November 2023 12:02 GMT
Frederick man dies six weeks after receiving pig heart transplant

Lawrence Faucette, who received a transplanted heart from a pig at the University of Maryland School of Medicine last month, has died.

Faucette, 58, was dying of heart failure before he received the transplant on 20 September and doctors said he wasn’t eligible for a human heart transplant due to other health conditions.

His case is the second in which University of Maryland doctors have tried to use a pig’s heart to save someone dying from heart disease.

Last year, the team performed the first transplant on David Bennett. He lived just two months with the pig’s heart; though it’s thought that a pig virus may have contributed to his death, the official cause has not been determined.

Before performing their second transplant – on Mr Faucette – the team reportedly implemented better virus testing on the pig heart.

Lawrence Faucette working with a physical therapist

Doctors said that following surgery Faucette had made “significant progress” but over the last few days “his heart began to show initial signs of rejection.”

Faucette lived for six weeks post-operation before his death on Monday, said the university.

“We mourn the loss of Mr Faucette, a remarkable patient, scientist, Navy veteran and family man who just wanted a little more time to spend with his loving wife, sons and family,” Dr Bartley Griffith, who carried out the surgery, said in a statement.

Faucette’s wife, Ann, also said that her husband had “started this journey with an open mind.”

Surgeons prepare for the transplant

“He knew his time with us was short, and this was his last chance to do for others. He never imagined he would survive as long as he did, or provide as much data to the xenotransplant program,” she said in a statement.

“He was a man who was always thinking of others, especially myself and his two sons. The kindness and selfless acts of others were not unnoticed. ... Larry’s family continues to be in awe of the man that he was and how he has shaped our lives. He can never be forgotten.”

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