Baby Fae, shortly after her transplant. The dark stripe on her torso is the surgical incision. Though she evolution of heart pdf within a month of the procedure, she lived weeks longer than any previous recipient of a non-human heart. The procedure, performed by Leonard L.
O, and Loma Linda only had seven young female baboons—all of which were type AB—available as potential donors. A baboon heart was used as there was no time for a suitable human heart to be found. Prior to the procedure, no infant heart transplant—even with human hearts—had been successfully performed due to a lack of infant human hearts. To address this issue, Bailey had become a pioneer in the research of cross-species heart transplants, which had included “more than 150 transplants in sheep, goats, and baboons”. Multiple surgeons had previously experimented with baboon heart implants, leading some to speculate even that baboons could be farmed in the future for such purposes. When asked why he had picked a baboon over a primate more closely related to humans in evolution, Bailey replied, “I don’t believe in evolution. Though she died within a month, Baby Fae, at the time of her death, had lived two weeks longer than any previous recipient of a non-human heart.
The procedure was subject to a wide ethical and legal debate, but the attention that it generated is thought to have paved the way for Bailey to perform the first successful infant allograft heart transplant a year later. There were questions as to whether parents should be allowed to volunteer children for experimental medical procedures, and whether the parents themselves were properly informed by Bailey. Baby Fae case was totally within the realm of experimentation and was “an adventure in medical ethics”. Bailey, concluding that xenografts should be undertaken only as part of a systematic research program with controls in randomized clinical trials.