(CBS 5) — If the valves inside your heart fail, a trip to the barnyard may be in order. Gretchen Lucas asked this Good Question: Is it true animal organs are used in human heart surgery?

ANSWER: Heart surgeon Dr. Glenn Egrie of California Pacific Medical Center said pig and cow heart valves have been used successfully in humans for decades. The first valves were sewn onto Dacron frames beginning in the 1950s. The valves only last about 15 years but humans don’t need to take any special drugs to avoid tissue rejection.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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