The University of Tennessee Graduate School of Medicine, Knoxville

Anesthesia Research | The University of Tennessee Graduate School of Medicine, Knoxville

Anesthesiology Research Laboratory

The Anesthesiology Research Laboratory supports the faculty and residents of the Department of Anesthesiology by performing clinical research on pain and nausea management, regulation and monitoring of blood clotting, aspirin resistance in cardiovascular disease, as well as, the effects of anesthesia.



Hemorrhage associated with blood clotting disorders, or coagulopathy, is a major cause of death and complications in trauma patients. Russ Langdon, MD, and team are studying whether the rigidity of blood during blood clotting affects the fatality rate and how platelets in the blood during trauma can affect the need for or the risks of blood transfusion. Their study could help physicians in the Emergency Department assess coagulopathy and other disorders at an early stage during treatment of a trauma, and could indicate more effective interventions.

Cardiovascular Disease

Using data from previous studies on aspirin resistance, Robert Craft, MD, Jack Chavez, MD, and other investigators are testing the correlation of aspirin resistance in patients with a history of cardiovascular disease and the formation in their blood of an agent that constricts blood vessels.

This study could help physicians more effectively treat patients who have cardiovascular disease but also experience aspirin resistance.


An upcoming study, headed by Robert Craft, MD, will use positron emission tomography (PET) technology to look at the molecular and anatomical targets of anesthesia. A better understanding of the actions of anesthesia can help anesthesiologists control and increase the success of its use. This study will also provide information about the origin of human consciousness, which in turn could help explain disturbances of consciousness such as coma, autism, and schizophrenia.

Another progressive study on anesthesia is helping physicians safely use anesthetic agents during uppergastrointestinal endoscopies and colonoscopies. Physicians Stephen Patteson, MD, Jerry Epps, MD, and others used brain-wave function to determine the depth of sedation achieved by using certain anesthetic agents for endoscopies. They found that the level of sedation is consistent with general anesthesia and that for maximum patient safety, medical professionals with formal anesthesiology training should administer the anesthetic during endoscopies.

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 American Heart Association, the T.K. Beene Anesthesiology Gift Fund, and various corporate sponsors.




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