Pig heart recipient continues to recover from transplant

In this photo provided by the University of Maryland School of Medicine, members of the surgical team perform the transplant of a pig heart into patient David Bennett in Baltimore on Friday, Jan. 7, 2022. On Monday, Jan. 10, 2022 the hospital said that he's doing well three days after the highly experimental surgery. (Mark Teske/University of Maryland School of Medicine via AP)

Credit: Uncredited

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In this photo provided by the University of Maryland School of Medicine, members of the surgical team perform the transplant of a pig heart into patient David Bennett in Baltimore on Friday, Jan. 7, 2022. On Monday, Jan. 10, 2022 the hospital said that he's doing well three days after the highly experimental surgery. (Mark Teske/University of Maryland School of Medicine via AP)

Credit: Uncredited

Credit: Uncredited

The man who received the first pig heart transplant is continuing to recover from the experimental surgery

BALTIMORE (AP) — The man who received the first pig heart transplant continued to recover Tuesday, four days after the experimental surgery.

Since the transplant, David Bennett had been connected to a heart-lung machine to support his new heart. He was taken off the machine Tuesday, according to Deborah Kotz, a spokeswoman for the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

“It’s still day to day and will be for the next few weeks,” Kotz said in an email.

Bennett, 57, received the highly experimental transplant last Friday at the University of Maryland Medical Center. Doctors gave him the genetically modified pig heart as a last-ditch effort to save his life.

Bennett's condition — heart failure and an irregular heartbeat — made him ineligible for a human heart transplant or a heart pump, doctors said.

Because of the shortage of human organs donated for transplant, scientists have been trying to figure out how to use animal organs instead. The heart came from a pig that had been genetically modified to make its organs less likely to be rejected by the human body.

The Food and Drug Administration, which oversees such experiments, allowed the surgery under what’s called a “compassionate use” emergency authorization, available when a patient with a life-threatening condition has no other options.

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In this photo provided by the University of Maryland School of Medicine, Dr. Bartley Griffith takes a selfie photo with patient David Bennett in Baltimore in January 2022. In a medical first, doctors transplanted a pig heart into Bennett in a last-ditch effort to save his life and the hospital said Monday, Jan. 10, 2022 that he's doing well three days after the highly experimental surgery. (Dr. Bartley Griffith/University of Maryland School of Medicine via AP)

Credit: Bartley Griffith

In this photo provided by the University of Maryland School of Medicine, Dr. Bartley Griffith takes a selfie photo with patient David Bennett in Baltimore in January 2022. In a medical first, doctors transplanted a pig heart into Bennett in a last-ditch effort to save his life and the hospital said Monday, Jan. 10, 2022 that he's doing well three days after the highly experimental surgery. (Dr. Bartley Griffith/University of Maryland School of Medicine via AP)

Credit: Bartley Griffith

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In this photo provided by the University of Maryland School of Medicine, Dr. Bartley Griffith takes a selfie photo with patient David Bennett in Baltimore in January 2022. In a medical first, doctors transplanted a pig heart into Bennett in a last-ditch effort to save his life and the hospital said Monday, Jan. 10, 2022 that he's doing well three days after the highly experimental surgery. (Dr. Bartley Griffith/University of Maryland School of Medicine via AP)

Credit: Bartley Griffith

Credit: Bartley Griffith

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This photo provided by the family shows from left, David Bennett Jr., Preston Bennett, David Bennett Sr., Gillian Bennett, Nicole (Bennett) McCray, Sawyer Bennett, Kristi Bennett in 2019. In a medical first, doctors transplanted a pig heart into Bennett Sr., in a last-ditch effort to save his life and the hospital said Monday, Jan. 10, 2022 that he's doing well three days after the highly experimental surgery. (Byron Dillard via AP)

Credit: Byron Dillard

This photo provided by the family shows from left, David Bennett Jr., Preston Bennett, David Bennett Sr., Gillian Bennett, Nicole (Bennett) McCray, Sawyer Bennett, Kristi Bennett in 2019. In a medical first, doctors transplanted a pig heart into Bennett Sr., in a last-ditch effort to save his life and the hospital said Monday, Jan. 10, 2022 that he's doing well three days after the highly experimental surgery. (Byron Dillard via AP)

Credit: Byron Dillard

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This photo provided by the family shows from left, David Bennett Jr., Preston Bennett, David Bennett Sr., Gillian Bennett, Nicole (Bennett) McCray, Sawyer Bennett, Kristi Bennett in 2019. In a medical first, doctors transplanted a pig heart into Bennett Sr., in a last-ditch effort to save his life and the hospital said Monday, Jan. 10, 2022 that he's doing well three days after the highly experimental surgery. (Byron Dillard via AP)

Credit: Byron Dillard

Credit: Byron Dillard

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This photo provided by the family shows from left, David Bennett Jr., David Bennett Sr., and Nicole (Bennett) McCray at a carnival in 2014. In a medical first, doctors transplanted a pig heart into Bennett Sr., in a last-ditch effort to save his life and the hospital said Monday, Jan. 10, 2022 that he's doing well three days after the highly experimental surgery. (Courtesy David Bennett Jr. via AP)

Credit: Uncredited

This photo provided by the family shows from left, David Bennett Jr., David Bennett Sr., and Nicole (Bennett) McCray at a carnival in 2014. In a medical first, doctors transplanted a pig heart into Bennett Sr., in a last-ditch effort to save his life and the hospital said Monday, Jan. 10, 2022 that he's doing well three days after the highly experimental surgery. (Courtesy David Bennett Jr. via AP)

Credit: Uncredited

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This photo provided by the family shows from left, David Bennett Jr., David Bennett Sr., and Nicole (Bennett) McCray at a carnival in 2014. In a medical first, doctors transplanted a pig heart into Bennett Sr., in a last-ditch effort to save his life and the hospital said Monday, Jan. 10, 2022 that he's doing well three days after the highly experimental surgery. (Courtesy David Bennett Jr. via AP)

Credit: Uncredited

Credit: Uncredited

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In this photo provided by the University of Maryland School of Medicine, members of the surgical team show the pig heart for transplant into patient David Bennett in Baltimore on Friday, Jan. 7, 2022. On Monday, Jan. 10, 2022 the hospital said that he's doing well three days after the highly experimental surgery. (Mark Teske/University of Maryland School of Medicine via AP)

Credit: Uncredited

In this photo provided by the University of Maryland School of Medicine, members of the surgical team show the pig heart for transplant into patient David Bennett in Baltimore on Friday, Jan. 7, 2022. On Monday, Jan. 10, 2022 the hospital said that he's doing well three days after the highly experimental surgery. (Mark Teske/University of Maryland School of Medicine via AP)

Credit: Uncredited

caption arrowCaption
In this photo provided by the University of Maryland School of Medicine, members of the surgical team show the pig heart for transplant into patient David Bennett in Baltimore on Friday, Jan. 7, 2022. On Monday, Jan. 10, 2022 the hospital said that he's doing well three days after the highly experimental surgery. (Mark Teske/University of Maryland School of Medicine via AP)

Credit: Uncredited

Credit: Uncredited