The historic transplant of a genetically modified pig heart to a human patient would not have been possible without the use of a cocktail of substances that included cocaine, said one of the doctors who participated in the unprecedented surgery, performed on January 7 in Maryland. , U.S.
The details of the use of the substance, banned in the United States, were revealed by the surgeon Muhammad Mohiuddin -of Muslim origin- in an interview for Vice.
According to the doctor, the transplanted heart had to be prepared with a cocktail of substances, including the hormones cortisol and adrenaline, and cocaine. The specialist said that the solution prolongs the viability of the heart, since in the past, during other transplants, a deterioration in the organ has been documented, which affects its ability to function after surgery.
“Without this solution we had failures within 48 hours,” the surgeon said. “With the solution, the heart was well preserved and began to beat very well.”
Cocaine is a substance that stimulates the nervous system, and at the cardiovascular level, it is documented which acts as a vasoconstrictor (narrows blood vessels) and can also cause tachycardia.
Despite this, and after the historical experience in organ transplantation, the doctor points out that the use of the solution applied to the genetically modified pig heart could be beneficial in other heart transplants.
“It would be a great advance if the process is approved by the regulatory agencies, since we usually do not obtain hearts within hours; doing it would allow us to bring in organs from other states,” he added.
The doctor said that the use of cocaine in the transplant was approved by US authorities after a thorough process.
To date, the patient who received the pig heart reports a good state of health.