Anesthesiology Research

With the goal of advancing pain management, anesthesia research investigates novel interventions that assure patient safety and comfort throughout the perioperative period. Focused areas within the department include:

  • the prediction of outcomes following perioperative and pain management interventions,
  • the prediction and prevention of the development of chronic pain following injury, and
  • novel analgesics and analgesic delivery systems.

Currently there several key research initiatives underway.

Key Areas of Research

I. Outcomes Research

The development of treatment algorithms within the Pain Division lends itself to the systematic study of treatment outcomes which in turn suggest the refinement of best practices. Pretreatment psychometric testing, biological markers, and examination findings have been used to predict long-term functional outcomes in spinal and neuropathic pain treatments. Research is being conducted to develop normalized scores for the BSI-18, a screening and outcome tool for use in a chronic pain population. Medication management protocols are being coordinated with the development and implementation of these screening algorithms. Database development is underway for both the acute pain service and chronic pain service to facilitate outcomes research.

II. Clinical Trials

Although we have engaged in a number of diverse projects covering anesthesiology, acute and chronic pain, our niche in sponsored clinical trials has been orthopedic postoperative pain states. Our strategic plan includes continued expansion into the areas of demonstrated expertise including: muscle relaxants, awareness/depth of anesthesia and its effect on postoperative cognitive dysfunction, and nausea, orthostasis and autonomic control. We have had success in multicenter trials at Beaumont in the development of novel drug delivery systems: sustained-release epidural morphine, now called DepoDur and E-TRANS, now called IONSYS. We continue to participate in trials for conditions such as postoperative nausea, postoperative cognitive dysfunction, complement inhibition following bypass, opioid-induced constipation, and catheter-induced infection, and novel agents for postoperative pain control.

III. Quality Improvement

Clinical questions arising in daily practice and quality assurance issues provide the basis for much of the intramural research strategic plan. Examples include perioperative optimization to enhance patient outcomes post-surgery.

Awards and Honors

Research awards have been received in the form of non-commercial grant funding from the following organizations: DeRoy Testamentary Foundation, Beaumont Foundation, Oakland University/Beaumont Hospital, Pfizer (unrestricted grant for basic science), and Merck (unrestricted grant for clinical science). Papers and posters have been selected for special recognition including the following awards and honors: Citation Award (American Pain Society) and selection for AnalgesiaFile (Dannemiller Education Foundation). Our outstanding clinical nursing staff has also been recognized as leaders in the field and selected as coordinator leaders to train other sites around the country.