Dr. Kenneth Liao, Professor and Chief of Cardiothoracic Transplantation

Project Overview

The Brockman Foundation has provided funding for a research project led by Dr. Kenneth Liao, Professor of Surgery and Chief of the Division of Cardiothoracic Transplantation and Circulatory Support at Baylor College of Medicine. Dr. Liao is a leading expert in heart transplantation and has authored many articles in scientific journals and book chapters on heart transplantation. Before coming to Baylor in 2019, he served as the surgical director for the Heart Transplant Program at the University of Minnesota, where he led over 20 clinical trials on heart transplantation as a primary or co-investigator.

Dr. Liao’s research project aims to increase the number of heart transplantations by increasing the pool of potential donor hearts. At any given time, 3,000 to 4,000 people are waiting for a heart transplantation, but 25% of them will die before they can receive one. Despite this shortage of available hearts for transplantation, current heart transplantation criteria severely limit heart procurement by only accepting donors who have experienced brain death. Potential hearts after circulatory-related deaths are discarded over concerns of ischemic injury and resulting complications.

Dr. Liao’s Brockman Foundation funded research will combine the best in surgical expertise and bench science to create and test the safety and efficacy of a new protocol for the implantation of hearts from circulatory-related deaths that would otherwise have been discarded. It aims to create a feasible option for an increased number of available hearts, potentially enabling the extension of lives of thousands of people on an annual basis.

Project Highlights

  • Overview: Heart transplants