Perioperative Stress Biology and Outcomes

Led by Edward Sherwood, M.D., Ph.D. 

Edward Sherwood, MD, PhDMajor surgery induces a variety of biological stressors that have significant impact on both short- and long-term patient outcomes. Perioperative inflammation and oxidative stress affects all organ systems, but its impact is poorly understood. As such, the ability of healthcare providers to modulate perioperative inflammation and oxidative stress for optimal outcomes is severely hampered. Likewise, post-operative cognitive dysfunction is an important problem in older patients who undergo surgical procedures but affecting, to varying degrees, patients of all ages. With the aging population of developed countries, it is imperative that we attain a better understanding of perioperative neurological dysfunction so that new approaches can be developed to minimize its impact. The autonomic nervous system plays a significant role in regulating the host response to surgical stress and is a point of intervention that can be manipulated to improve patient outcomes. However, our knowledge of autonomic function during the perioperative period and ability to intervene are not fully developed.

The Perioperative Stress Biology and Outcomes Group is composed of a diverse group of investigators who are conducting research to better understand the impact of inflammation (Sherwood, Ware, Blackwell), oxidative stress (Billings, Pretorius, Roberts), autonomic dysfunction (Robertson) and neurological stress (Pandharipande, Ely) on perioperative and critically ill patients. The group’s goal is to develop interventions that minimize the impact of stressors on critically ill patients and patients undergoing surgical procedures.