UAMS Expands Transplant Services in Northwest Arkansas

By David Wise

The current focus of the clinic is post-transplant patients in need of follow-up care. In the future, the clinic plans to include patients in need of transplant evaluations. The clinic at 1125 N. College Avenue schedules six to eight patients one Friday per month for follow-ups to kidney and liver transplants.

Lyle Burdine, M.D., surgical director for the solid organ transplant program at UAMS, said the clinic offers the exact same level of service and access to care as the UAMS multi-organ transplant program in Little Rock.

“The goal, of course, is to provide the best care in our patients’ own community,” Burdine said, “thereby making it easier for them to remain on track with the best outcomes. These are sick patients who will need long-term follow-up. Whatever we can do, both in northwest Arkansas and around the state, to help them get that care is essential.”

Burdine, who leads the UAMS team of transplant physicians and surgeons, obtained bachelor’s degrees in chemistry and philosophy from Duke University and an M.D./Ph.D. from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. He completed his residency in general surgery at UAMS and a fellowship in abdominal transplants from the University of California San Francisco.

Kidney transplants in Arkansas date back to 1964 when the state’s first kidney transplant was performed at UAMS. The first liver transplant in Arkansas was performed in 2005.

“UAMS is the home of the only adult liver and kidney transplant programs in the state,” said Pearl McElfish, Ph.D., vice chancellor of the UAMS Northwest Regional Campus. “We can now offer our local transplant patients and their families the finest in transplant care through our caring and compassionate team right here in northwest Arkansas.”

UAMS is the state's only health sciences university, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; hospital; a main campus in Little Rock; a Northwest Arkansas regional campus in Fayetteville; a statewide network of regional campuses; and seven institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Psychiatric Research Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, Translational Research Institute and Institute for Digital Health & Innovation. UAMS includes UAMS Health, a statewide health system that encompasses all of UAMS' clinical enterprise including its hospital, regional clinics and clinics it operates or staffs in cooperation with other providers. UAMS is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. U.S. News & World Report recognized UAMS Medical Center as a Best Hospital for 2021-22; ranked its ear, nose and throat program among the top 50 nationwide for the third year; and named five areas as high performing — colon cancer surgery, diabetes, hip replacement, knee replacement and stroke. Forbes magazine ranked UAMS as seventh in the nation on its Best Employers for Diversity list. UAMS also ranked in the top 30% nationwide on Forbes’ Best Employers for Women list and was the only Arkansas employer included. UAMS has 2,876 students, 898 medical residents and six dental residents. It is the state's largest public employer with more than 10,000 employees, including 1,200 physicians who provide care to patients at UAMS, its regional campuses, Arkansas Children's, the VA Medical Center and Baptist Health. Visit or Find us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Instagram.