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Man who received first pig kidney transplant discharged from hospital

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Just over two weeks after doctors placed a genetically edited kidney from a pig inside Richard Slayman, the 62-year-old is recovering at home and relishing “one of the happiest moments” of his life.

Washington Post reports that on March 16, Slayman became the first living person to receive such a transplant, according to doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital.

In a statement Wednesday, the hospital confirmed that Slayman had been discharged and was “recovering well.” The facility has credited “years of research, preclinical studies and collaboration” for the successful surgery.

“This moment — leaving the hospital today with one of the cleanest bills of health I’ve had in a long time — is one I wished would come for many years,” Slayman said in a discharge statement released by the hospital. “Now, it’s a reality and one of the happiest moments of my life.”

Slayman, who works for the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, battled kidney disease for more than a decade.

He had gone on dialysis and survived a human kidney transplant in 2018 but had since grown desperately ill and was near despair, The Washington Post reported last month.

“It was such a joyful day for all of us,” Dr. Leonardo Riella, the hospital’s medical director for kidney transplantation, told NBC10 Boston.

He said this gives hope to thousands of patients in need.

“Unfortunately, there are not enough kidneys out there.

“This would be a huge hope for them to receive a kidney in a timely manner before they get too sick to actually get a kidney transplant — which is the best treatment for kidney disease.

“Slayman had a kidney transplant in 2018 but had to go back on dialysis last year when it showed signs of failure.

“We were confident that we may create a new opportunity for patients.

“It could be seen as a bridge, meaning that this transplant will get them and keep them healthy until they get a human kidney, or even, in the future, that this will be a permanent solution,” Reila added.

One of the transplant surgeons on the team believes the pig kidney will work for at least two years.

Riella says doctors will follow up with Slayman twice a week with blood tests to monitor his new kidney.

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