NEWS RELEASE: Transplant Surgeon Joins UAMS To Begin State’s First Liver Transplant Program

By todd

LITTLE ROCK – You Min Wu, M.D., has joined the College of Medicine’s Department of Surgery at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) to begin the first liver transplant program in the state.

As director of liver transplantation in the UAMS Solid Organ Transplantation Program and a professor of surgery in the College of Medicine, Wu brings a special liver transplant technique he developed, called cavaplasty. This technique is used in several parts of the United States, as well as in Asia.

Wu, a native of China, also brings expertise in developing liver transplant programs. Wu comes to UAMS from the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics where he was a professor of surgery and director of the Liver Transplant Program. He initiated the liver transplant program in Iowa and also helped start liver transplantation in China.

Michael Edwards, M.D., UAMS professor and chairman of the Department of Surgery, said he anticipates the department will start performing liver transplants in late fall.

For the first couple of years, we expect to be performing 20-30 liver transplants a year with a potential of 50-60 a year, depending on the given need in Arkansas,” Edwards said. “Right now, 100 Arkansans are on waiting lists to receive a liver transplant. Once we begin performing liver transplants, Arkansans will no longer have to travel out of state for this complex surgery.”

Wu said he has great confidence in the transplant team at UAMS. “We have many wonderful, first-class physicians at UAMS and a great facility – I don’t see how we can fail,” he said. “UAMS has the potential to be the leading transplant center in the nation.”

Wu has performed about 800 transplants throughout his career and holds several world records in liver transplants, such as performing a transplant with the oldest donor and the longest survival; the oldest recipient and longest survival; and most recently he performed a liver transplant on the youngest recipient – a 19-day old baby.

Wu received his medical degree and completed a residency from Nanjing Medical University in Nanjing, China. He completed a transplant research fellowship and a transplant clinical fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in Pennsylvania. From Pittsburgh, he was recruited to the University of Iowa, where he worked for more than 10 years.

Some of his research interests and projects include conducting clinical trials to develop new immunosuppressive therapies needed by transplant patients, small bowel transplants, split liver transplants and combined liver/small bowel transplants.

UAMS is the state’s only comprehensive academic health center, with five colleges, a graduate school, a medical center and a statewide network of regional centers. The school has about 2,170 students and 650 residents and is the state’s largest public employer with almost 9,000 employees. UAMS and its affiliates have an economic impact in Arkansas of about $3.8 billion a year.

UAMS Medical Center includes the Arkansas Cancer Research Center, Harvey and Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Center on Aging, Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy and Jackson T. Stephens Spine and Neurosciences Institute.