Creating history of sorts, doctors in Ohio, the United States of America, have transplanted a bovine jugular vein to a man to rid him of a painful ulcer due to a weakened valve of a vein in his right leg. This is the first time a bovine vein is used in man to treat varicose ulcers.
Doctors at the Toledo hospital's Jobst Vascular Center at Toledo, Ohio, are ecstatic that the procedure has succeeded very well. Dr. Hugh Beebe, the center's director says, "The neck vein of cows is very similar to the femoral vein of man. The bovine valve becomes a better fit when compared to the weakened valves of man and to prevent rejection of bovine tissue, the cows valve is pre treated with drugs."
The femoral vein is a primary vein of the upper leg near the groin and the valves in the vein help in the regulated flow of blood from the extremities to the heart. When the valves become incompetent, there's pooling of blood in the lower limb causing swelling, pain and later very painful ulcers.
Bud Filson, the 70 year old who had the transplant done used to cry with pain often and could hardly walk a few feet without the excruciating pain forcing him to stop. After almost 18 years of non-stop pain he is yet to come to terms with the fact that he is cured. He manages to say, "It's a miracle."
The procedure takes 90 minutes to perform and requires the patient to stay in the hospital for two days. Apart from this center only few other centers offer this bovine transplant.
Admitting that the procedure is still several years away from widespread use doctors say that the next step will be to increase the number of patients and the number of places where the procedure is performed.