WATCH: ‘Pig’ Kidney Transplant Successfully Completed in Omaha

The nonprofit Omaha World-Herald reported on March 7 that the Omaha Health Foundation confirmed a pig kidney transplant was successfully completed on a deceased woman.

The surgery was a “anemicard kidney,” which donates one portion of the organ to a normal-weight individual, who then has it removed and transplanted to an obese individual, who is in need of organ donations.

The pig kidney was given by the Foundation’s chief medical officer, Dr. Colin Reid, who has been working toward the practicality of the procedure for several years.

In a general sense, this procedure could take advantage of a new wave of gastrointestinal disease in American society, The World-Herald reported. In particular, those afflicted with the condition, end-stage renal disease or chronic kidney disease, would benefit from the immunosuppressive medications the pig kidneys could cause due to their flaccid state, however, before surgery, the surgery would be risky for the pigs themselves.

Nevertheless, experts would be able to study the new procedure in advance, and find out if the risks were worth it.

Katarina Grinberg, a pancreatic and liver transplant specialist with the University of Nebraska Medical Center, said that in an estimated 2 percent of all transplant patients, a pig kidney would not work due to a difference in the amount of fiber in their tissues. Moreover, if the transplant took place two months after the pig surgery, there could be a clot that would prevent a drug from working.

Grinberg said of the patients with end-stage renal disease, “if you put them on five or more drug regimens, you might make them illegal — that would be hard to do — if they are actively sick. They are dealing with a different disease, and their safety is not my priority.”

Sevasti Bahal, a dentist from Omaha, told the World-Herald that her parents used to donate their hearts to her a sister, and she is considering donating part of her kidney to a cousin to help her continue her own work as a dentist.

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