By Wendy Sarubbi | January 23, 2012 12:41 pm

UCF College of Medicine M-3 student Virgil Secasanu was part of a team that presented information about new options for kidney transplant patients at the American Society of Transplant Surgeons’ 12th Annual symposium in Miami on January 12-15.

Also attending was Dr. Michael Angelis, a volunteer faculty member at the UCF College of Medicine who is also the surgical director of the Florida Hospital Transplant Center.

The subject of the poster project was “Renal Transplantation with Unusual Venous Drainage in Presence of Vena Cava Filter: Report on Two Cases.” The study looked at ways to transplant a kidney even when the patient suffers from clots or blockage in the iliac veins that drain blood from the kidneys. The study examined how two other smaller veins — the left gonadal and inferior mesenteric veins — can be dilated to allow sufficient blood flow to implant a new kidney.

The alternative veins can also be used with patients who have received a surgically implanted filter in the inferior vena cava, the large vein that returns blood to the heart from the abdomen and legs. The filter helps prevent blood clots that form in the lower limbs from traveling to the heart and is often used with patients who have cardiovascular disease in addition to failing kidneys.

Virgil said he became interested in the research during his transplant surgery rotation last summer when he met Dr. Angelis, his primary adviser for the project.

“This idea can increase the available options for patients with end-stage kidney disease requiring kidney transplantation. More patients could receive life-sustaining kidney transplants,” Virgil said.

Dr. Angelis said the poster reflected Virgil’s meticulous work and was well-received at the conference.

“The implication of this abstract is to show that occasionally in selected cases you can still perform a kidney transplant in a novel surgical way even though the patients may have a clotted-off vena cava,” Dr. Angelis said. “It is very important that medical students get involved in research projects. They get the skills needed to critically analyze and understand the peer review process, and get exposed to national meetings.”

In addition to Virgil and Dr. Angelis, co-authors of the study were Dr. Bobby Nibhanupudy, Dr. L. Thomas Chin, and the late Dr. Dmitriy Nikitin, all members of the Florida Hospital Transplant Center.


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