Studying Perioperative Outcomes in Patients Undergoing Orthopedic Surgery

by Dr. Stavros Memtsoudis
4.29 Blog

Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Physician-Scientist Career Development Award Program- Part III

Studying Perioperative Outcomes in Patients Undergoing Orthopedic Surgery

We will post a series of blogs which will discuss specific research projects that are being conducted thanks in part to the support of the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Physician-Scientist Development Award Program. In our third installment, Dr. Stavros Memtsoudis, Anesthesiologist, discusses his research on perioperative outcomes in patients that undergo orthopedic surgery. As an anesthesiologist and critical care physician, my goal is to find ways to help even the sickest patients to undergo their surgery safely and minimize their risk of complications. To honor this commitment, I realized early on in my career that in order to provide the highest level of care, I would not only need a comprehensive clinical education in perioperative medicine, but I would have to actively perform research in this field.

While most of the over one million patients undergoing orthopedic surgery in the US every year do so without major problems, a significant minority will suffer complications ranging from blood clots to in-patient falls. Identifying characteristics that put patients at risk for adverse events and determining interventions that can prevent them are therefore of utmost importance.

Over the years, my team and I were not only able to determine the incidence of various complications, identify which patients were at risk and study mechanisms leading to these events, but also provide a scientific basis to help physicians better care for their patients.

Patient populations whose care was affected by our research include patients undergoing hip, knee and spine surgery and especially those receiving bilateral joint surgery, patients with sleep apnea, and rheumatoid arthritis to mention only a few.

Utilizing large nationally representative data samples, this research was able to impact patient care far beyond the confines of our hospital and its many studies have been incorporated in guidelines nationally and internationally.

Most recently, we were able to provide evidence of the hugely important role the type of anesthesia plays in the prevention of complications. A number of studies have identified that regional anesthesia for joint surgery is superior to general anesthesia. In addition, its positive impact may surpass that of many drugs currently being used to achieve the same.

With so many questions unanswered, allocating time for both clinical activity and research becoming increasingly difficult, despite extensive support provided by the Department of Anesthesiology. Therefore, the announcement of the Anna-Maria and Steven Kellen Career Development Award was a refreshing and much needed relief as it recognized the fact that clinician researchers involved both in science and patient care were in the best position to identify areas in need of answers and finding ways to get those answers through science. For showing such insight and foresight, I am incredibly thankful to both the Kellen family and the hospital for allowing to not have to choose between two passions (patient care and science), but to pursue both.

The protected time and additional resources that this award has afforded me has helped me tremendously in expanding my research team and my activities to include the participation of our institution in multicenter clinical trials focusing on perioperative care issues and whose results are published in the top medical journals.

Read previous installments of this series here. For more on the Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Physician-Scientist Career Development Award Program, check out the Spring 2014 issue of Discovery to Recovery.

Dr. Stavros Memtsoudis, board-certified in both anesthesiology and critical care medicine, joined HSS after completing subspecialty training in critical care medicine, cardiac, and thoracic anesthesiology. His expertise lies in the perioperative care of patients with advanced cardiovascular and pulmonary disease. Scientifically, Dr. Memtsoudis has an interest in the fields of cardiopulmonary physiology and national database outcomes research, and has published articles in these fields. 

Topics: Anesthesiology, Discovery to Recovery, Featured, Kellen Research Grant
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