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June 19, 1987

Second Cardiac Xenograft Predicted; Questions Remain on Procedure

JAMA. 1987;257(23):3181. doi:10.1001/jama.1987.03390230017002

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IS THIS COUNTRY ready to grapple yet again with the ethical quandaries posed by xenogeneic heart transplantation? And is medical science capable of dealing with the numerous responses the human body mounts to such surgery?

Leonard Bailey, MD, the surgeon who performed what is believed to be the first orthotopic implantation of a baboon heart into a neonate with hypoplastic left-heart syndrome (JAMA 1985;254:3321-3329), thinks so. "I would be surprised if we don't do a crossspecies transplant within a year," he told medical writers at the American Academy of Pediatrics meeting in San Francisco. Some of his colleagues, while giving a qualified yes to the merits of using xenografts as bridges, appear to be skeptical of the idea that such xenotransplantation could ever be more than that, given existing understanding of immunologic barriers.

The transplant team at Loma Linda (Calif) University Medical Center is penning the final version of a