Beating, dripping pig heart: It's gross, but it saves lives
Jay Price, Raleigh News & Observer
RALEIGH, N.C. — The sight of a dripping-fresh, human-sized heart, it turns out, is both repulsive and attractive. Especially when it's suspended in the open among an elaborate array of tubes, pumps and valves. And when it's pulsing as though alive.
"There are basically two reactions," Andrew Richards, a North Carolina State University graduate student, said of the macabre wheeled contraption he calls the Heart Cart.
"'Ewww, gross' or 'Ewww, cool.'"
Pig hearts are so similar to humans' that the valves are often used to replace defective human hearts. The Dynamic Heart System — its real name — pushes saltwater through recently removed pig hearts to make the valves move in a natural way. It can be programmed to simulate a range of heart rates and blood pressures to mimic specific defects or healthy hearts. The idea is to use $5 pig hearts from a slaughterhouse to speed research, trim costs and reduce the number of live animals used in the tests. Read More
Agriculture has always been closely tied to human medicine and now medical researchers are able to utilize pig hearts more efficiently. The ability to use organs from pigs for transplant into humans is right around the corner. That is as long as we can stop groups like HSUS and PETA from eliminating animal agriculture before it happens. For the thousands of people that are on the donor lists, these breakthroughs will be a welcome relief. Hopefully our children or grandchildren will not remember what the donor list was.