Patient who had first ever pig kidney transplant dies two months after procedure

The hospital has said there is no indication that Mr Slayman died as a result of the procedure. Credit: Massachusetts General Hospital.

The first recipient of a genetically modified pig kidney transplant has died nearly two months after he underwent the procedure, the hospital which carried out the operation has said.

Richard “Rick” Slayman had the transplant at Massachusetts General Hospital in March at the age of 62. Surgeons said they believed the pig kidney would last for at least two years.

The transplant team at Massachusetts General Hospital said in a statement it was deeply saddened by Mr Slayman's passing, and added there was not any indication that he died as a result of the transplant.

The hospital says there is no indication Mr Slayman's death was connected to the surgery. Credit: Massachusetts General Hospital

Mr Slayman, from Massachusetts, was the first living person to have the procedure.

Slayman had a kidney transplant at the hospital in 2018, but he had to go back on dialysis last year when it showed signs of failure.

When dialysis complications began to develop, his doctors suggested a pig kidney transplant.

In a statement, Mr Slayman's family thanked the doctors at the hospital, saying “Their enormous efforts leading the xenotransplant gave our family seven more weeks with Rick, and our memories made during that time will remain in our minds and hearts."

They said Slayman underwent the surgery in part to provide hope for the thousands of people who need a transplant to survive.

“Rick accomplished that goal and his hope and optimism will endure forever,” the statement said.

Xenotransplantation refers to healing human patients with cells, tissues or organs from animals.

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know…