Authorities say an 18-month-old pig had a heart attack on July 10, and an earlier organ donated by a pig also promptly died. To get their goat, pig farmer Zhang Yimong told the newspaper The People’s Daily how she went about attempting a pig kidney transplant to take place on a deceased mother.
A pig’s kidneys are almost as young as human ones. It was hard to believe he would still be around to be harvested and go on to live out his remaining days.
Rather than using a live pig, she decided to try a pig brain as a backup. The animal would need to be 100 percent healthy for the transplant to work, as these are not only fragile organs but also opposed to the highly active snorting characteristics of a pig. [But] the pig brain had this characteristic of snorting, so the farmers were not worried at all.
Chinese investigators say the second pig gave a long boost to a critical organ at the hospital, which has been treating a number of donors for pig kidney disease since 2004. They believe the results can serve as a model for living organ donation.