Ethical considerations in xenotransplantation of thoracic organs - a call for a debate on value based decisions

J Heart Lung Transplant. 2024 Jul;43(7):1033-1038. doi: 10.1016/j.healun.2024.03.012. Epub 2024 May 22.


Xenotransplant covers a broad ethical territory and there are several ethical questions that have arisen in parallel with the technological advances that have allowed the first porcine transplants to occur. This brief communication highlights ethical considerations regarding heart and lung xenotransplantation, with an emphasis on unresolved value-based concerns in the field. The aim of this text is therefore to encourage the readers to consider the vast potential of this emerging technique to do good, but also the risk of doing harm, and to participate in a discussion. The list of questions presented here is not exhaustive but hopefully represents some of the questions that appear to be most pressing as the field advances. The focus is on the value-based, or ethical questions, not the questions related to the practical medical procedures.

Keywords: ethics; heart transplantation; lung transplantation; thoracic transplantation; xenotransplantation.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Editorial

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Heart Transplantation* / ethics
  • Humans
  • Lung Transplantation* / ethics
  • Swine
  • Transplantation, Heterologous* / ethics