This just in: The first pediatric liver transplant in Arkansas was performed last Friday and the patient went home Tuesday.
The patient was 17 -- technically, still pediatric, but physically mature enough that the adult transplant support team Dr. Youmin Wu has put together at UAMS could assist in the surgery.
Wu has performed 20 adult liver transplants, all successfully, since May 2005. The teen-ager’s brings his total surgeries to 21.
Wu performed 200 pediatric transplants in Iowa before coming to UAMS in 2004 and has pressed hard for a program at Arkansas Children’s Hospital. Children’s is working with the state Medicaid office on a waiver for compensation so it can start the process to create its own program.
The majority of pediatric liver patients are infants. Because the liver can regenerate, those patients can use partial organs from living donors, usually a parents. The teen-ager operated on at UAMS, whose name has not yet been made public, did not receive a partial liver.