Department of
Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine

Resident Research

Within our Anesthesiology Residency Program, opportunities for resident-driven research are numerous and broad. We have established a facilitation system for resident research. Our department is currently ranked among the top anesthesiology departments in the nation in total amount of NIH grant funding (about $3.5 million annually).

Diverse Research Areas – Basic/Clinical Science, Educational Research, Business Management

Within this active research environment, interns and residents of all levels are encouraged to participate in projects ranging from anesthesia mechanisms to patient safety to simulation.

  • Active NIH-sponsored research on anesthetic mechanisms utilizes the latest in NMR and MRI technology, headed by Yan Xu, PhD (Vice Chair for Basic Research)
  • We are the administrative home for the Pittsburgh Center for Pain Research, a multidisciplinary effort of basic and clinical scientists engaging in pain mechanism and pain management research.
  • The Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine maintains its own industry-sponsored Clinical Trials Program, with 19 active trials in progress.
  • Through our strong ties with the Peter M. Winter Institute for Simulation Education and Research (WISER), residents can work on cutting-edge simulation research.
  • As the largest anesthesiology department in the US, our department’s practice management team headed by Mark Hudson, MD, MBA (Executive Vice Chair) has won numerous research awards at several annual ASA Practice Management Meetings.

Resident Scholarly Activities

Given our strong scholarly activity support system, our residents have been extremely productive. In academic year 2018, 163 scholarly products were generated by residents:

  • 29 peer-reviewed publications (19 articles first-authored by residents)
    • 20 original research articles
    • 4 reviews
    • 4 case reports
    • 1 letter to the editor
  • 121 abstract presentations (99 presented at national/international meetings)
    • 84 original  studies
    • 37 case reports
  • Two department Educational Seed Grants
  • Four book chapters
  • Four IRB-approved study protocols
  • Two other publications (society bulletin and online publication)

At the 2018 American Society of Anesthesiology Annual Meeting, 22 abstracts by 18 residents, including seven original research studies, were accepted for presentation.

Class of 2018 residents were first author on the following peer reviewed papers: 

  • Abuelkasem E, Mazzeffi MA, Henderson RA, Wipfli C, Monroe A, Strauss ER, Chow JH, Tanaka KA. Clinical Impact of Protamine Titration-Based Heparin Neutralization in Patients Undergoing Coronary Bypass Grafting Surgery. J Cardiothorac Vasc Anesth. 2019 Jan 10. pii: S1053-0770(19)30054-0. doi: 10.1053/j.jvca.2019.01.026. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 30737123.
  • Abuelkasem E, Hasan S, Mazzeffi MA, Planinsic RM, Sakai T, Tanaka KA. Reduced Requirement for Prothrombin Complex Concentrate for the Restoration of Thrombin Generation in Plasma from Liver Transplant Recipients. Anesth Analg. 2017 Aug;125(2):609-615.
  • Abuelkasem E, Lu S, Tanaka K, Planinsic R, Sakai T. Comparison between thrombelastography and thromboelastometry in hyperfibrinolysis detection during adult liver transplantation. Br J Anaesth. 2016 Apr;116(4):507-12.
  • Abuelkasem E, Mazzeffi MA, Lu SY, Planinsic RM, Sakai T, Tanaka KA. Ex vivo evaluation of 4 different viscoelastic assays for detecting moderate to severe coagulopathy during liver transplantation. Liver Transpl. 2016 Apr;22(4):468-75.​
  • Abuelkasem E, Tanaka KA, Planinsic RM. Recent update on coagulation management and hemostatic therapies in liver transplantation. Minerva Anestesiol. 2018 Sep;84(9):1070-1080.
  • DeAndrade DS, Waters JH, Triulzi DJ, Alarcon L, Wisniewski MK, Dyga R, Yazer MH. Very low rate of patient-related adverse events associated with the use of intraoperative cell salvage. Transfusion. 2016 Nov;56(11):2768-2772.​
  • DeAndrade DS, Berman JR, Boisen ML. Approaches to Patient Counseling Regarding Effectiveness of Oral Contraceptives. Anesth Analg. 2018 May;126(5):1789.​
  • DeAndrade DS, Smith NF, McHugh SM. Airway Compression During Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement Via Subclavian Artery Approach: A Case Report. A A Pract. 2018 Nov 12. doi: 10.1213/XAA.0000000000000927. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 30431441. 
  • Dressler AM, Gillman AG, Wasan AD. A narrative review of data collection and analysis guidelines for comparative effectiveness research in chronic pain using patient-reported outcomes and electronic health records. J Pain Res. 2019 Jan 24;12:491-500.
  • Mandell D, Planinsic R, Melean F, Hughes C, Tevar AD, Humar A, Cassidy BJ, Simmons R, Dewolf A, Sakai T. Critical Importance of Low-Dose Tissue Plasminogen Activator Policy for Treating Intraoperative Pulmonary Thromboembolism During Liver Transplantation. Semin Cardiothorac Vasc Anesth. 2018 Dec;22(4):376-382.
  • Melnyk V, Ibinson JW, Kentor ML, Orebaugh SL. Updated Retrospective Single-Center Comparative Analysis of Peripheral Nerve Block Complications Using Landmark Peripheral Nerve Stimulation Versus Ultrasound Guidance as a Primary Means of Nerve Localization. J Ultrasound Med. 2018 Nov;37(11):2477-2488.​
  • Melnyk V, Phillips D, Schisler T, Subramaniam K. Cystic Fibrosis and Lower-Extremity Edema: A Case of Intraoperative Diagnosis of Acute Deep Venous Thrombosis and Pulmonary Embolism in a Double-Lung Transplant Recipient Using Point-of-Care Ultrasound. J Cardiothorac Vasc Anesth. 2019 Feb;33(2):506-510.​
  • Melnyk V, Hackett PJ, Subramaniam K, Badhwar V, Esper SA. Complex Considerations and Anesthetic Management in Patient with Multiple Intracardiac Myxomas. J Cardiothorac Vasc Anesth. 2018 Jun;32(3):1374-1376.​
  • Raggi EP, Sakai T. Update on Finger-Application-Type Noninvasive Continuous Hemodynamic Monitors (CNAP and ccNexfin): Physical Principles, Validation, and Clinical Use. Semin Cardiothorac Vasc Anesth. 2017 Dec;21(4):321-329.
  • Tran LT, Mazariegos GV, Damian D, Davis PJ. Red Blood Cell Transfusion in Pediatric Orthotopic Liver Transplantation: What a Difference a Few Decades Make. Anesth Analg. 2018 Oct 3. doi: 10.1213/ANE.0000000000003832.​
  • Ungerman E, Haft W. Giant Right Atrial Myxoma: The Importance of Transesophageal Echocardiography during Diagnosis, Evaluation and Resection. Journal of Perioperative Echocardiography. 2016; 4 (10);74-78.​​
  • Verdecchia NM, Ibinson JW, Orebaugh SL. The Ultrasound Anatomy of Nerves in the Interscalene Groove: Can We Reliably Distinguish the Nerve Structures for Needle Placement During Nerve Blocks? Ultrasound Q. 2019 Feb 4. doi: 10.1097/RUQ.0000000000000422. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 30724868.​​
  • Verdecchia NM, Wisniewski MK, Waters JH, Triulzi DJ, Alarcon LH, Yazer MH. Changes in blood product utilization in a seven-hospital system after the implementation of a patient blood management program: A 9-year follow-up. Hematology. 2016 Sep;21(8):490-9.​
  • Verdecchia N, Johnson J, Baratz M, Orebaugh S. Neurologic complications in common wrist and hand surgical procedures. Orthop Rev (Pavia). 2018 Mar 29;10(1):7355.

Research Education

The University of Pittsburgh Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine is active in training the next generation of top researchers. Because our residents finish most of their required clinical work by their PGY-4 year, their final residency year schedule is very flexible. One of the popular options available to our residents is a research elective (Resident Research Rotation. Director: Tetsuro Sakai, MD, PhD, MHA), where up to six months can be spent pursuing the answers to clinical or basic science questions under the mentorship of our research-focused faculty.

For those looking to pursue research further, we offer an anesthesiology-focused NIH T32 postdoctoral research fellowship for physician scientists (PI: Yan Xu, PhD). We are one of only 16 anesthesiology programs across the nation with this prestigious NRSA T32 training grant. For interested and highly-motivated applicants, an integrated pathway has been developed that combines the anesthesiology residency, a subspecialty clinical fellowship, and the T32 research fellowship - the Pittsburgh Academic Anesthesiology Scholars Track (PAAST). Further questions can be directed to David G. Metro, MD, FASA, Vice Chair for Education.

PAAST Timeline