Treating Congestive Heart Failure by Transplanting Cow Tissue

The Associated Press ran a story in April highlighting how animal tissue is being implanted in human beings today to prolong the lives of people suffering from certain types of congestive heart failure.

Congestive heart failure occurs when the heart is unable to pump enough blood to supply the body with oxygen and other nutrients. The heart tries to compensate by enlarging which, however, makes it even less efficient. About 250,000 people die every year in the United States from congestive heart failure.

A new procedure called surgical ventricular restoration uses an implant made of cow heart muscle to repair the heart’s ventricles. As the heart expands, the ventricles go from a healthy football-like shape to a more rounded, basketball-like shape.

Implanting the cow heart tissue allows surgeons to reshape the ventricle into the correct shape and restore much of its functionality. The Associated Press and the surgeons at Oregon Health & Science University touted the story of Jerry Westling, 56, who was among the first people to benefit from the new procedure.

Thanks to his congestive heart failure, Westling used to have difficulty climbing up a flight of stairs, but after the implantation of the cow heart tissue, much of his heart function was restored. “I feel tremendously blessed and have a new lease on life,” Westling said in an OHSU press release.

(Of course we all know this can’t possibly be true, since animal-based medical science is nonsense and, besides, who does this guy think he is to put his life above the suffering of a cow?)


Surgery gives cow muscle to humans. Associated Press, April 6, 2003.

New treatment available in northwest for patients with congestive heart failure. Oregon Health & Science University, Press Release, April 3, 2003.

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