Cardiac Anesthesia Services Research and Innovation

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Research

Research efforts and successes in anesthesiology include far more than developing and improving the drugs and equipment that provide sedation, anesthesia or pain control. Rather, they encompass the entire range of basic, translational and clinical biological and bioengineering sciences, and include areas as diverse as:

  • developmental biology
  • organ pathophysiology
  • design of life function monitoring equipment
  • outcomes research
  • quality and safety improvement

Members of the Division of Cardiac Anesthesiology are involved in many such efforts, all focused on improving the outcome and long-term wellbeing of children and adults with congenital heart disease. Recent research within the Division includes a number of studies seeking to define better ways to protect an infant's heart, lungs and/or brain from the harmful aspects of congenital heart disease and cardiac surgery. 

Some specific areas of investigation include:

  • understanding changes in the function of blood clotting systems in patients with congenital heart disease and during cardiac surgery, and improving therapies to reduce blood loss and the need for blood transfusion
  • elucidating the role of the body’s inflammatory mechanisms on the effects of the heart-lung machine and heart surgery in infants and older patients
  • exploring ways to preserve heart function, both after cardiac surgery and long-term, in patients with congenital heart disease in order to improve their functional outcomes
  • developing advanced monitoring techniques, such as near-infrared spectroscopy, to improve brain and other organ functions after cardiac surgery
  • understanding the effects of surgery and anesthetic agents upon the body’s defense and repair mechanisms
  • defining risk factors faced by patients with congenital heart disease who require cardiac or non-cardiac surgery in order to reduce adverse events in these patients
  • using tissue engineering approaches to repair defective cardiac conduction systems and heart function in patients with congenital heart disease
  • designing methods for administering oxygen and other gases intravenously as an adjunct to life support and organ preservation
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The future of pediatrics will be forged by thinking differently, breaking paradigms and joining together in a shared vision of tackling the toughest challenges before us.”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO
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