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Inaugural Anesthesia Research Institute Fund awards announced

The Anesthesia Research Institute Fund has awarded its first grants to Department of Anesthesia faculty who are exploring ways to improve patient care both during and after various procedures.

The fund awarded a total of $46,637 to the following projects:

  • $20,485 to Yatish Ranganath, MBBS, over two years for a study that compares post-surgical pain scores of different regional anesthesia techniques during video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS). Although VATS is considered less invasive and less painful than open thoracotomy (where the surgeon makes an incision between the ribs), almost 6 in 10 VATS patients report moderate to severe postoperative pain. A University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics study showed that 25 percent of VATS patients reported persistent chronic pain 6 months after their procedure. Ranganath and co-investigator John Keech, MD, FACS, a cardiothoracic surgeon at UIowa, will test whether intercostal nerve blocks with liposomal bupivacaine offer better pain control for patients than paravertebral block with plain bupivacaine.
  • $16,567 to Rakesh Sondekoppam, MBBS, and Archit Sharma, MBBS, to study the mechanism and safety of erector spinae plane (ESP) blocks to control pain and reduce the need for opioids following open-heart surgery. So far, other studies have failed to identify exactly how ESP blocks work in conjunction with local anesthetics or solidly prove that ESP blocks are effective at reducing post-operative pain and reliance on opioid pain relievers. This study includes several co-investigators from the Department of Anesthesia and the Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery.
  • $7,693 to Archit Sharma, MBBS, to study whether hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) improves outcomes in sepsis patients. Prior studies have indicated that, while normal attempts to re-oxygenate tissues in rats with sepsis are ineffective, early intervention with hyperbaric oxygen (at 2.5 atmospheres) improves survival rates and promotes anti-inflammatory activity in the body. Sharma’s study, which supplements a recent sepsis studyfunded by a Carver College of Medicine award to Nicholas Mohr, MD, will measure outcomes in sepsis patients who receive 60 minutes of HBOT versus patients who receive standard sepsis treatment. This grant covers expenses that were not covered by a recent College of Medicine aware to carry out the study.
  • $1,893 to Lovkesh Arora, MBBS, MD, and Ellyn Gray, MD, MS, CA-2 anesthesia resident, to study whether a noninvasive monitoring technique can detect spinal cord ischemia (SPI) during or in the 72 hours following endovascular repair of thoraco-abdominal aortic aneurysms. SPI is a serious complication for these surgeries, causing postoperative paralysis for up to 10 percent of patients. Standard monitoring for SCI during the procedure involves time- and staff-intensive neurophysiological monitoring with motor-evoked potentials (MEP) and somatosensory-evoked potentials (SSEP). Arora and Gray will use a noninvasive technique called near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) alongside MEP and SSEP to see if NIRS detects potential SCI in real-time as effectively as the more invasive techniques. This grant covers expenses that were not covered by a recent Carver College of Medicine award to carry out the study.

The Anesthesia Research Institute Fund was established last year by an anonymous donor who wanted to support research that otherwise would likely go unfunded. Anesthesia personnel were invited to submit proposals, including detailed budgets, and the Department’s Research Review Committee reviewed the submissions and selected the awardees. The next call for proposals will come at the end of 2020.

You can support the Anesthesia Research Institute Fund by donating here and including the Fund in your gift instructions.

Monday, August 31, 2020