Skip to main content

Anesthesiology Research

The Department of Anesthesiology is committed to the pursuit of high quality new and innovative treatments for many of the medical problems that fall under pain management and anesthesia care. The areas of research in the Department of Anesthesiology encompass both traditional areas of anesthesia research and new areas of science and medicine.

Clinical research includes topics such as anesthesia patient safety and outcomes research. Additionally, clinical studies of several novel agents in pain management are underway in the operating rooms and pain clinic. Studies of peri-operative and post-operative outcomes are being quantified and understood. Pain management dosing requirements, intra-operative stability and peri-operative outcomes are being evaluated in the clinical setting.

NIH Grants

The Department of Anesthesiology is proud to have been awarded several prestigious National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants. One of the most pressing health issues concerns the management of chronic pain and understanding of the transition from acute to chronic pain and how this may help reduce chronic pain incidence as well as find alternatives to opioid treatment and other more invasive pain control methods.

  • PI- Buvanendran A., Jacobs J., Burns J.  Transition from Acute to Chronic Pain in Total Knee Arthroplasty Patients: Identifying Resilience and Vulnerability Profiles (NIH/NINDS - 1UM1NS112874-01)
  • PI- Buvanendran A., Bruehl S., Jacobs J., Burns J.  Evaluating Specific and Non-Specific Mechanisms in Two Distinct Complementary/Integrative Interventions for Chronic Pain (NIH/NCCIH - R01AT009680-01A1 - Supplement

Orthopedic Pain Research

The Department of Anesthesiology has partnered with the Department of Orthopedic Surgery to help control pain before, during and after surgery. We have several investigator initiated studies that analyze patient’s pain related to knee replacement, hip replacement, shoulder replacement and amputation.

In addition, we have sponsored studies that focus on conditions such as CRPS. We also have sponsored studies which test pain management using study drugs after surgery.

Chronic Pain Research

The Pain Clinic located at Rush University Medical Center is housed within the Department of Anesthesiology. We are one of the busiest pain clinics in the City of Chicago treating over 12,000 patients a year.

We study pain management, cost effectiveness of pain management and implants such as nerve/spinal cord stimulators.  We treat and study all aspects of pain including back, knees, headaches, neck, shoulder and arm.  Our main goal is to find an explanation to the elusive question of why pain happens and how can we best help patients overcome it.

We are funded through grants from the NIH, University Anesthesiologyists, S.C., as well as sponsors such as pharmaceutical and device companies.

Our Team

Our pain clinic is currently staffed by some of the best pain physicians in the country.

 The Section of Pain Medicine also supports the training and education of 2 fellows.

  • Neal Shah, MD
  • Junaid Mukhdomi, MD  

Airway Management Research

We are developing and implementing a checklist to improve airway management outside of the operating room.  Tracheal intubation is frequently performed outside of the operating room during the resuscitation process of unstable patients or in emergency situations.  Developing a checklist helps to identify missing items prior to induction, including lack of a second laryngoscope blade, lack of a stylet, and absent bag-mask ventilation system. The number of missing items significantly decreased over the period of the study using the pre-induction checklist. Checklists have been shown to decrease patient morbidity and mortality by assuring that health care providers address all vital aspects of care.

Neuro Science Research

We are currently studying the effects of blood pressure on the outcome of elective endovascular neuro-interventions for cerebral aneurysms.  This is a retrospective analysis of patients that have developed post coiling cerebral ischemia.  We are studying if post coiling blood pressure management affects the rate of cerebral ischemic complications. 

Basic Research

Vaskar Das, PhD, conducting basic research in the lab

The Department of Anesthesiology has a rodent surgery laboratory and a rodent behavioral testing laboratory in the Cohn Research Building, as well as a large Biochemistry laboratory in the Jelke Building.  

The Department of Anesthesiology supports Orthopedic Pain Research and the Chronic Pain Research with basic research in these areas. We have several studies in rats that seek effective ways to use local infiltrative analgesia to control postoperative pain after knee surgery or abdominal surgery. These studies suggest that local infiltrative analgesia in patients should use injectable NSAIDs along with the local anesthetic. Other studies in rats examine the best combination of drugs and new slow release drug formulations to prolong the duration of the peripheral nerve blocks used for regional pain control during surgery and postoperatively. In collaboration with the Department of Biochemistry, we have several studies in mice on new ways to prevent cartilage degeneration and the pain of knee osteoarthritis. These studies emphasize the importance of intraarticular injection into the knee joint to reduce osteoarthritic pain while limiting systemic side effects of medications.

Recent Publications

  • Deer TR, Russo MA, Grider JS, Pope J, Rigoard P, Hagedorn JM, Naidu R, Patterson DG, Wilson D, Lubenow TR, Buvanendran A, Sheth SJ, Abdallah R, Knezevic NN, Schu S, Nijhuis H, Mehta P, Vallejo R, Shah JM, Harned ME, Jassal N, Gonzalez JM, Pittelkow TP, Patel S, Bojanic S, Chapman K, Strand N, Green AL, Pahapill P, Dario A, et al. The Neurostimulation Appropriateness Consensus Committee (NACC): Recommendations for Surgical Technique for Spinal Cord Stimulation. Neuromodulation 2022;25:1–34. PubMed Link
  • Rayburn WF, Xierali IM, McDade WA. Racial-Ethnic Diversity of Obstetrics and Gynecology Faculty at U.S. Medical Schools. Am J Obstet Gynecol 2022:S0002-9378(22)00106-5.   PubMed Link
  • Mahmud F, Roy R, Mohamed MF, Aboonabi A, Moric M, Ghoreishi K, Bayat M, Kuzel TM, Reiser J, Shafikhani SH. Therapeutic evaluation of immunomodulators in reducing surgical wound infection. FASEB J 2022;36:e22090.  PubMed Link
  • McCarthy RJ, Adams AM, Sremac AC, Kreider WJ, Pelletier PL, Buvanendran A. Trajectories of opioid consumption from day of surgery to 28 days postoperatively: a prospective cohort study in patients undergoing abdominal, joint, or spine surgery. Reg Anesth Pain Med 2021;46:1067–75. PubMed Link
  • Das V, Kroin JS, Moric M, McCarthy RJ, Buvanendran A. Early treatment with metformin in a mice model of complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) reduces pain and edema. Anesth Analg 2020. 130;2;525-534   Journal   PubMed
  • Murugappan KR, Moric M, Wang X, Kruse J, Mueller A, Boone MD, Barboi C. Implementation of a risk-stratified approach to prevent postoperative nausea and vomiting in an institution with high baseline rates of prophylaxis. J Anaesthesiol Clin Pharmacol 2021;37:453–7.  PubMed Link
  • Bruehl S, Burns JW, Koltyn K, Gupta R, Buvanendran A, Edwards D, Chont M, Wu YH, Stone A. Does aerobic exercise training alter responses to opioid analgesics in individuals with chronic low back pain? A randomized controlled trial. Pain 2021;162:2204–13.  PubMed Link
  • Buvanendran A, Sremac AC, Merriman PA, Della Valle CJ, Burns JW, McCarthy RJ. Preoperative cognitive-behavioral therapy for reducing pain catastrophizing and improving pain outcomes after total knee replacement: a randomized clinical trial. Reg Anesth Pain Med 2021;46:313–21.  PubMed Link

Anesthesiology and Outcome Translational Research:

In collaboration with the Department of Immunology we have several studies in rats on new ways to prevent postoperative infection after surgery. In diabetic rats we have demonstrated that short term glycemic control is as effective as long term glycemic control in reducing postoperative bacterial infection. This study suggests that diabetic patients with poor glycemic control about to undergo surgery should be immediately started on insulin to reduce their blood glucose levels. In addition, in normal rats we are examining the significance of giving high inspired oxygen during and after surgery in reducing postoperative infection due to gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria.

Our basic studies are funded through grants from the NIH and the VA.

Contact us

We welcome inquiries about our research, collaborations and funding to the following: