UAMS Performs Two Liver Transplants on Memorial Day

By todd

LITTLE ROCK – The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences’ (UAMS) organ transplant surgery team performed two liver transplants on Memorial Day, only 15 days after the state’s first liver transplant.


George Montgomery, 54, of Bigelow, received his new liver in a surgical procedure that began at 9:30 a.m. Monday and lasted four hours. Brian Perrymore, 35, of Harper Woods, Mich., went into surgery around 5 p.m. and received his new liver in a procedure that lasted about 6 hours. Perrymore has been staying with family in Conway while waiting for the transplant.


Youmin Wu, M.D., director of the UAMS Solid Organ Transplant Program and professor of surgery in the UAMS College of Medicine performed both surgeries. Both patients are in good condition at UAMS Medical Center and a full recovery is anticipated.


“This early success reminds us why creating a liver transplant program filled a critical need in the state and the benefits to the many Arkansans who otherwise would have to go elsewhere for this complex surgery,” said Michael Edwards, M.D., professor and chairman of the Department of Surgery in the UAMS College of Medicine. “We are pleased to be able to complete these transplants, further demonstrating the potential for our young and growing program.”


Before the UAMS liver program was certified in April, Arkansas had no liver transplant program. An estimated 100 Arkansans had been on liver transplant waiting lists in other states. There are now five patients on the UAMS waiting list.


“The biggest reward for the transplant team is when we see patients on the road to recovery, so we are glad to help Mr. Montgomery and Mr. Perrymore,” Wu said. “Each transplant surgery marks another successful collaboration involving our transplant team, UAMS, Arkansas Regional Organ Recovery Agency and others that make this life-saving service possible.”


The UAMS liver transplant team evaluates transplant candidates based on the severity of their condition. Those patients are placed on a United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) national list, ranked by severity, so that when a liver becomes available the UAMS patients are eligible.


Initially UAMS expects to perform 20-30 liver transplants a year, with a potential of 50-60 transplants a year, depending on need.


During each procedure, the liver was removed by disconnecting it from the blood vessels and other structures that hold it in place in the abdomen. The new liver was put in place, connected and then blood flow was restored. As in the first transplant, Wu used a special transplant technique he developed, called cavoplasty, which reduces time in the operating room.


Both Montgomery and Perrymore are being cared for at UAMS Medical Center by a multi-disciplinary team that can monitor and assist their complete recovery. They are expected to be able to leave the hospital by the end of the week and resume full activities in six weeks. The liver surgical team includes as many as 31 medical professionals.


Greg Gilliand, 56, of Hot Springs, received a new liver on May 14 at UAMS in the state’s first liver transplant. He was discharged from the hospital on May 19 and continues a full recovery.


UAMS is the state’s only comprehensive academic health center, with five colleges, a graduate school, a medical center, five centers of excellence and a statewide network of regional centers. UAMS has more than 2,200 students and 660 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 $4.1 billion a year.


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