The University of Tennessee Graduate School of Medicine, Knoxville

The Department of Anesthesiology Research | The University of Tennessee Graduate School of Medicine, Knoxville

The Department of Anesthesiology

Anesthesiology Research Division

The mission of the Anesthesiology Research Division is to advance basic and clinical research aiming to enhance understanding of anesthetic mechanisms and improve clinical care. The Anesthesiology Research Division invites active interaction with the clinical faculty and residents in the Department of Anesthesiology, the medical center, the main campus and Oak Ridge National Laboratory. The division provides the bench laboratory skills and equipment to facilitate clinical research projects.

Blood and Blood Coagulation

Anesthesiologists know blood, inside and out. They administer more blood to patients than any other group of medical specialists. For a decade, anesthesiologists at the UT Graduate School of Medicine have researched platelet and whole blood functions to find better care for their patients. Recently, a collaborative team led by Robert M. Craft, M.D., Professor and Residency Program Director in the Department of Anesthesiology, has been investigating blood coagulation in a variety of clinical situations.
"Traditional tests examine the coagulation properties of blood's individual components but not how they work together," Craft says. "The coagulation cascade cannot be adequately assessed by isolating the parts." The team, which also includes Russell Langdon M.D., is utilizing a process called thromboelastography (TEG) that determines the rigidity of whole blood during coagulation. "TEG can tell us which aspect of the coagulation cascade is at fault and allows us to get these assessments in real time," Craft explains. Specifically, TEG is currently being utilized by the Anesthesiology lab to study coagulation disorders in stroke and trauma patients.

Why This Matters

"Our care affects all branches of medicine, so our research reflects this," Craft says of the collaborative spirit evident in the diversity of research in his department.

Physicians must understand the actions and reactions of blood during medical procedures, and collaborative research led by anesthesiologists will bolster that understanding to bring about improved patient safety, better care and more promising outcomes. Specifically, the current projects are designed to help predict and prevent complications from stroke, as well as better treat the bleeding disorders associated with traumatic injury.

These research endeavors assist in the training of tomorrow's clinician researchers as well as maintaining the state of the art knowledge of the clinical staff. The projects also provide training for pre and post-doctoral students interested in careers in biomedical research. Support for these research projects is funded by the T.K. Beene Anesthesiology Gift Fund.


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