A terminally ill man has been given the chance of life after his own diseased heart was replaced by a genetically-modified pig's heart.

In a medical first, doctors in Maryland transplanted the animal's organ into 57-year-old David Bennett and said on Monday that he is doing well three days after the experimental surgery.

"It was either die or do this transplant," Mr Bennett explained a day before the surgery.

I know it's a shot in the dark, but it ’ s my last choice," Mr Bennett said of the procedure in a statement.

He had been deemed ineligible for a human transplant, a decision that is often taken by doctors when the patient is in very poor health.

Surgeon Bartley Griffith said the surgery would bring the world "one step closer to solving the organ shortage crisis", the University of Maryland School of Medicine said in a release.

"I look forward to getting out of bed after I recover," he said last week.

mr bennett was reported to be breathing on his own while being carefully monitored.

The pig used in the transplant had been genetically modified to knock out several genes that would have led to the organ being rejected by Mr Bennett's body, the AFP news agency reports.

His son David Bennett Jr said : "He realises the magnitude of what was done, and he really realises the importance of it.

Doctors said the transplant showed that a heart from a genetically modified animal can function in the human body without immediate rejection.

It is too early to know if the operation will work but marks a step in the decades-long search by scientists to use animal organs for life-saving transplants.

I want to live.

last year, there were just over 3,800 heart transplants in the us, a record number, according to the united network for organ sharing ( unos ).

"if this works, there will be an endless supply of these organs for patients who are suffering," said dr muhammad mohiuddin, scientific director of the university's animal-to-human transplant program.

notably, in 1984, baby fae, a dying infant, lived 21 days with a baboon heart.

The surgeons in Maryland used a heart from a pig that had undergone gene editing to remove a chemical in its cells that's responsible for the organ rejection.

The UNOS's chief medical officer, Dr David Klassen, described the transplant as a "watershed event", but warned that it is only a first, tentative step into exploring the animal-to-human organ transplants.

the food and drug administration, which oversees xenotransplantation experiments, allowed the surgery under "compassionate use" emergency authorisation, which is made available when a patient has no other options.

in september 2021, scientists in new york suggested that gene-edited pigs might offer promise for animal-to-human transplants after they temporarily attached a pig's kidney to a dead human body and watched it work.

According to Dr Robert Montgomery, who led the New York experiment, the heart transplant is "a truly remarkable breakthrough".

Pig heart valves, similar to those in humans, have been used successfully for transplants.

"He could not live, or he could last a day, or he could last a couple of days.

I mean, we 're in the unknown at this point."

"It creates the pulse, it creates the pressure, it is his heart," Dr Bartley Griffith, the director of the cardiac transplant program at the medical center, told The New York Times.

"This is nothing short of a miracle," David Bennett Jr told USA Today.

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