Woman has combined pig kidney transplant and heart pump implant in world first

A US woman has become the first person in the world to undergo a pig kidney transplant and also have a mechanical heart pump surgically implanted.

Lisa Pisano’s combination of heart and kidney failure had left her too ill to qualify for a traditional transplant.

The 54-year-old, from New Jersey, became the first woman and only the second patient ever to receive a genetically-modified pig kidney when she “took a chance”.

In a world first, Ms Pisano allowed doctors at NYU Langone Transplant Institute in New York to implant a mechanical pump to keep her heart beating and then a few days later to transplant a pig kidney.

She said: “I was at the end of my rope. I just took a chance.

“And you know, worst case scenario, if it didn’t work for me, it might have worked for someone else and it could have helped the next person.”

Her husband Todd said: “With this surgery I get to see my wife smile again.”

Last month, it was revealed a 62-year-old man became the first person to be transplanted with a pig kidney.

Other transplant experts are said to be closely watching the progress of Ms Pisano, who doctors said was recovering well.

Dr Robert Montgomery, director of NYU Langone Transplant Institute, recalled there were cheers in the operating room as the organ immediately started making urine.

Speaking about the early results of the surgery, he added: “It’s been transformative.”

But Dr Nader Moazami, the NYU cardiac surgeon who implanted the heart pump, warned “we’re not off the hook yet”.