Surgeon and Assistant Professor Min Yoo of UTHSC Recognized by American Society of Transplant Surgeons

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Dr. Min Yoo was recognized by the American Society of Transplant Surgeons for her research in kidney transplantation.
Dr. Min Yoo was recognized by the American Society of Transplant Surgeons for her research in kidney transplantation.

Min Yoo, MD, an assistant professor of surgery at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) and a transplant surgeon with the Methodist University Transplant Institute, has been recognized by the American Society of Transplant Surgeons (ASTS) for her research related to pediatric en-bloc kidney transplantation.

The ASTS gave Dr. Yoo a Junior Investigator Award for producing one of the top abstracts in the Junior Faculty Category for the organization’s 15th Annual State of the Art Winter Symposium. During the symposium in January in Miami Beach, Florida, she will receive $500 for the abstract titled, “Outcomes of pediatric en-bloc kidneys after circulatory death.”

Dr. Yoo evaluated donor and recipient factors affecting graft and patient survival for adult recipients of pediatric en-bloc kidneys after circulatory death as compared to adult recipients of single pediatric kidneys. The surgical technique defined as “en-bloc” involves transplantation of both kidneys along with the aorta and vena cava from one donor to a single recipient. Pediatric en-bloc kidney transplantation is one way of expanding the donor pool for adults, which continues to lag the number of patients in need of transplants.

“Her award demonstrates a tremendous commitment to excellence, as she has accomplished this work in addition to her full-time clinical responsibilities.”

James Eason, MD, professor of surgery at UTHSC and director of the Transplant Institute

Her study involved a review of data from the United Network for Organ Sharing for all adult recipients of pediatric donor kidneys from 1987-2012 and concluded that transplantation of en-bloc kidneys donated after circulatory death can have outcomes comparable to those from other types of pediatric donors. However, these kidneys are thought to be of higher risk and should be used in carefully selected recipients.

“This is not a group of kidneys used very often by centers because there are a lot of concerns about technical complications,” Dr. Yoo said. “This shows that, yes, you can use them and people can have good outcomes with them.” Further research would look at long-term outcomes and what criteria make their use more successful.

“Hopefully, people will use these organs to increase the number of patients who get transplants,” Dr. Yoo said.

James Eason, MD, professor of surgery at UTHSC and director of the Transplant Institute, called Dr. Yoo an extremely dedicated member of the Transplant Institute. “Her award demonstrates a tremendous commitment to excellence, as she has accomplished this work in addition to her full-time clinical responsibilities.”

Dr. Eason continued, “Dr. Yoo has also recently published our Transplant Institute’s experience with steroid-free liver transplantation in 500 consecutive patients, which is the largest reported series in the world.”