St Paul’s Hospital

Vancouver General Hospital

St Paul’s Hospital

Welcome to Regional Anesthesia Research at Providence Health Care!

Our growing regional anesthesia research program takes advantage of our close association with the UBC Department of Anesthesiology, Pharmacology & Therapeutics and the UBC Hugill Anesthesia Research Centre on Point Grey Campus. Guided by our philosophy to pursue a curiosity-driven, collaborative, interdisciplinary, and translational approach, our work spans the spectrum from clinical human investigation to fundamental pharmacological in vivo laboratory studies and in vitro neurophysiological experimentation.

Our research team includes staff MD anesthesiologists, PhD scientists, anesthesiology residents, fellows, medical students, pharmacology graduate students, and undergraduate students. We work together to improve for our patients long- and short-term perioperative outcomes, reduce surgical wait lists, and enhance efficient resource utilization through designing innovative regional anesthesia-based care models, identifying evidence-based state-of-the-art therapies, developing novel long-lasting and safe pharmacological agents, and discovering new knowledge on the cellular and molecular basis of local anesthetic and analgesic drug action. Our vision is to effectively and safely eradicate acute and chronic pain after surgery.

The program provides research training opportunities for clinical fellows as an integral component of our regional anesthesia fellowship program, as well as pharmacology graduate students through UBC.

Our work has been featured in the print press as well as on television. Funding sources for the laboratory research have included the Canada Foundation for Innovation, the Canadian Anesthesia Research Foundation, and the Hugill Anesthesia Research Endowment. Many of our research initiatives continue to rely on personal initiatives and support from scarce departmental resources; we welcome philanthropic donations and support for the sustenance and development of our programs, which directly benefit British Columbians undergoing surgery.

With warmest regards,
Stephan K. W. Schwarz, MD, PhD, FRCPC
Anesthesia Research Director & Staff Anesthesiologist, Providence Health Care
Associate Professor of Anesthesiology, Pharmacology & Therapeutics
The University of British Columbia

Recently completed studies:

Clinical research

Head SJ, Hackman G, Leung RC, Seib R, Rondi K, Schwarz SKW: A comparison of two techniques for ultrasound-guided saphenous nerve blockade: Blockade within versus distal to the adductor canal in the distal thigh. International Anesthesia Research Society 2013 Annual Meeting; San Diego, CA, USA; May 4–7, 2013 (Anesth Analg 2013, 116: S-349).

Mercereau P, Lee B, Head SJ, Schwarz SKW: A regional anesthesia-based “swing” operating room model reduces non-operative time in a mixed orthopedic inpatient/outpatient population treated in a hospital’s main operating room suite. Can J Anesth 2012, 59: 943–949.

(Work featured by CTV News at Five: Your Health with Dr. Rhonda Low [November 8, 2012])

Head SJ, Seib R, Osborn JA, Schwarz SKW: A “swing room” model based on regional anesthesia reduces turnover time and increases case throughput. Can J Anesth 2011, 58: 725–732.

(Covered by The Canadian Press & Winnipeg Free Press)

Laboratory research:

Putrenko I, Schwarz SKW: Lidocaine unmasks L-type Ca2+ current-mediated action potentials in rat thalamocortical neurons. Thirty Seventh Congress of the International Union of Physiological Sciences; Birmingham, UK; July 21–27, 2013.

Rivera-Aceveda RE, Pless S, Schwarz SKW, Ahern CA: Extracellular quaternary ammonium blockade of transient receptor potential vanilloid subtype 1 channels expressed in Xenopus laevis oocytes. Mol Pharm 2012, 82: 1129–1135.

Whitehead RA, Puil E, Ries CR, Schwarz SKW, Wall RA, Cooke JE, Putrenko I, Sallam NA, MacLeod BA: GABAB receptor-modulated selective peripheral analgesia by the non-proteinogenic amino acid, isovaline. Neuroscience 2012, 213: 154–160.

Putrenko I, Schwarz SKW: Lidocaine blocks the hyperpolarization-activated mixed cationic current, Ih, in rat thalamocortical neurons. Anesthesiology 2011, 115: 822–835.

Rivera-Aceveda RE, Pless SA, Ahern CA, Schwarz SKW: The quaternary lidocaine derivative, QX-314, exerts biphasic effects on transient receptor potential vanilloid subtype 1 channels in vitro. Anesthesiology 2011, 114: 1425–1434.

Vancouver General Hospital

RART Publication List Since 2011:

1. Lee PJ, Tang R, Sawka A, Krebs C, Vaghadia H. Real-Time ultrasound guided spinal anesthesia using Taylor’s approach. Anesth Analg 2011; 112: 1236-38.

2. Vaghadia H, Tang R, Sawka A, Lee PJ. Human cadaver model for teaching ultrasound-guided neuraxial interventions. Reg Anesth Pain Med 2011; 36(4): 415

3. Vaghadia H, Lawson R, Tang R, Sawka A. Failure to visualize the superior laryngeal nerve using ultrasound imaging. Anaesthesia and Intensive Care 2011; 39(3):503.

4. Tremblay MH, Henderson C, Vaghadia H. Sequential bilateral intravenous regional anesthesia with chloroprocaine. Can J Anesth 2011; (Online first 22 June 2011)

5. Sirivanasandha B, Lennox PH, Vaghadia H. Transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) with low dose spinal anesthesia in outpatients: a 5 yr review. The Can J of Urology 2011; 18(3): 5705-9.

6. Vaghadia H, Neilson G, Lennox PH. Selective spinal anesthesia for outpatient transurethral prostatectomy (TURP): a randomized controlled comparison of chloroprocaine with lidocaine. Acta Anesthesiol Scand 2012 Feb; 56(2):217-23.

7. Vaghadia H, Tang R, Sawka A, Kaur B. Ultrasound Guided Superior Laryngeal Nerve (SLN) Block with a Hockey Stick Probe. Brit J Anaesth 2012: 109(1); June 26th ELetter.

8. Schisler T, Huttunen H, Tang R, Vaghadia H. Ultrasound assisted spinal anesthesia in a patient with Wildervanck Syndrome and congenital abnormalities of the lumbar spine. Br J Anaesth 2012; 109; 290-291.

9. Kaur B, Tang R, Sawka A, Krebs C, Vaghadia H. A method for the ultrasonographic visualization and injection of the superior laryngeal nerve: Volunteer Study and Cadaver Simulation. Anesth Analg 2012 Nov; 115(5):1242-5.

10. Brinkmann S, Tang R, Sawka A, Vaghadia H. Assessment of a real time ultrasound guided spinal technique using SonixGPS in human cadavers. Can J Anaesth 2012; 59(12):1156-7.

11. Chanpong B, Tang R, Sawka A, Krebs C, Vaghadia H. Real time ultrasonographic visualization for guided inferior alveolar injection. Oral Surgery Oral Medicine Oral Pathology Oral Radiology 2013; 115(2): 272-276.

12. Vaghadia H, Germain G, Tang R. Epidural analgesia in parturients with Ankylosing spondylitis: a role for ultrasound surveillance and ultrasound guided placement. Can J Anesth 2013;60(2):206

13. Tang R, Sawka A, Vaghadia H, Umbarje K. SonixGPS needle tracking system for out-of-plane brachial plexus block in human cadavers. Acta Anaesthesiol Scand 2013;57(3):398-9

14. Brinkmann S, Vaghadia H, Sawka A, Tang R. Methodological considerations of ultrasound guided spinals using UltrasonixGPS. Can J Anesth 2012

15. Umbarje K, Tang R, Randhawa R, Sawka A, Vaghadia H.Out of plane brachial plexus block with a novel SonixGPS needle tracking system. Anaesthesia 2013;68(4):433-4

16. Kaur B, Tang R, Vaghadia H, Sawka A. Ultrasound guided thoracic paravertebral block using the SonixGPS system in human cadavers. Can J Anaesth 2013; 60(3):331-2

17. Brinkmann S, Germain G, Sawka A, Tang R, Vaghadia H. Is there a place for Ultrasound in Neuraxial Anesthesia? Imaging Med 2013; 5(2): 177-186.

18. B. Kaur; H. Vaghadia; R. Tang; A. Sawka. Real-time thoracic paravertebral block using an ultrasound-guided positioning system. British Journal of Anaesthesia 2013 110: 852-853

19. Brinkmann S, Tang R, Sawka A, Vaghadia H. Single operator real time ultrasound guided spinal injection using SonixGPS: case series. Can J Anesth 2013; 60(9): 896-901