Man who received first pig kidney transplant is dead

In 2018, he had a human kidney transplant, but it began to fail after five years.

Richard Slayman
Image: BBC

The hospital that performed the operation announced that Richard "Rick" Slayman, 62, the first recipient of a genetically modified pig kidney transplant, has passed away two months after the procedure.

Suffering from end-stage kidney disease, Slayman underwent the historic operation in March.

Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) clarified on Sunday that his death did not appear to be linked to the transplant.

Despite previous failures with transplants of organs from genetically modified pigs, Slayman's operation marked a significant breakthrough.

In addition to kidney disease, Slayman battled Type 2 diabetes and hypertension.

After receiving the pig kidney on March 16, his doctors reported that he no longer required dialysis, indicating the success of the new organ.

MGH expressed deep sadness over Slayman's unexpected passing and extended condolences to his family, highlighting his role as a symbol of hope for transplant patients worldwide.

Slayman's relatives emphasized his inspiring legacy and his desire to offer hope to others in need of transplants.

While Slayman received the first pig kidney transplant, it was not the first instance of a pig organ being used in transplantation.

Two other patients had previously received pig heart transplants, albeit unsuccessfully, with recipients passing away shortly after the procedures.

Immune rejection of the organs was cited as a contributing factor in these cases, underscoring a common risk associated with transplants.