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Anaesthetics Research

The Royal Prince Alfred Hospital Department of Anaesthetics is dedicated to improving patient outcomes in perioperative care through their ongoing participation in clinical research and quality assurance activities.

The department proudly supports staff members who initiate their own innovative research projects and those who commit time and expertise towards larger multi-centre trials. Our primary contributions to clinical research include investigating the mechanisms of anaesthesia, improving perioperative brain health, and enhancing training for the safe provision of anaesthesia. 

In 2020, the Department of Anaesthetics welcomed Professor Robert Sanders, Nuffield Chair of Anaesthetics at the University of Sydney. Since his commencement in the role, Professor Sanders has re-invigorated research within the department, attracted grant funding for ongoing projects and formed a research team in collaboration with the University of Sydney.

The research projects under Professor Sanders are primarily focussed on reducing postoperative delirium, a state of sudden confusion that can occur after surgery and is associated with worse outcomes for the patient. Continuing research in this area will become increasingly relevant following the recognition of delirium as an actual and potential Hospital Acquired Complication (HAC) by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care in 2021. 

Selected Grants

Amount awarded Grant and project details
$3,600,000 NIH, 2020-2025

Clarifying the overlapping pathology of delirium and dementia

Investigators: Sanders RD, Pearce RA
$3,038,535 NIH, 2020-2025

Receptors, microcircuits and hierarchical connectivity in predictive coding and sensory awareness

Investigators: Saalamnn Y, Sanders RD
$120,000 ANZCA, 2022-2023

Advancing a mechanistic understanding of how preoperative exercise training improves perioperative outcomes: A substudy of the NHMRC-funded PRIORITY randomised controlled trial

Investigators: Pillinger N

Our Publications


ASO Visual Abstract: Preoperative Cardiopulmonary Exercise Test Associated with Postoperative Outcomes for Patients Undergoing Cancer Surgery-A Systematic Review and Meta-Analyses. Annals of Surgical Oncology, 28 (Suppl 3) 1-1.
Ballweg T, White M, Parker M, Casey C, Bo A, Farahbakhsh Z, Kayser A, Blair A, Lindroth H, Pearce RA, Blennow K, Zetterberg H, Lennertz R and Sanders RD. (2021). Association between plasma tau and postoperative delirium incidence and severity: a prospective observational study. British Journal of Anaesthesiology, 126(2)458-466.
Chua MJ, Lersch F, Chua A, Kumar CM and Eke T. (2021). Sub-Tenon's anaesthesia for the modern eye surgery - clinicians' perspectives, 30 years after re-introduction. Eye, 35(5), 1295-1304. 
Chuan A and Sanders RD. (2021). The use of dexmedetomidine to prevent delirium after major cardiac and non-cardiac surgery. Anaesthesia, 76(10), 1296-1299. 
Crouch G, Wong G, Hong J, Varey A, Haddad R, Wang ZZ, Wykes J, Koutalistras N, Clark JR, Solomon M, Bannon P, McBride K and Ch'ng S. (2021). Validated specialty-specific models for multi-disciplinary microsurgery training laboratories: a systematic review. ANZ Journal of Surgery, 91(6):1110-1116.
Dutta S, Li D, Wang A, Ishak M, Cook K, Farnham M, Dissanayake H, Cistulli P, Hunyor I, Liu R, Wilcox I, Koay Y, Yang J, Lal S and O'Sullivan J. (2021). Metabolite signatures of heart failure, sleep apnoea, their interaction and outcome in the community. ESC Heart Failure, 8, 5392-5402. 
Eastwood J, Wang A, Khanlari S, Montgomery A and Yang JYH. (2021). Psychosocial stratification of antenatal indicators to guide population-based programs in perinatal depression. BMC Pregnancy Childbirth, 21(1),277. 
Gibbs NM and Loadsman JA. (2021). Claims to primacy or priority (being the 'first') are an unnecessary conceit. Anaesthestic and Intensive Care, 49(3), 162-163.
Glare P, Aubrey K, Gulati A, Lee Y, Moral N and Overton S. Pharmacologic Management of persistent pain in cancer suvivors. Drugs, 82, 275-291.
Hughes CG, Mailloux PT, Devlin JW, Swan JT, Sanders RD, Anzueto A, Jackson JC, Hoskins AS, Pun BT, Orun OM, Raman R, Stollings JL, Kiehl AL, Duprey MS, Bui LN, O'Neal HR Jr, Snyder A, Gropper MA, Guntupalli KK, Stashenko GJ, Patel MB, Brummel NE, Girard TD, Dittus RS, Bernard GR, Ely EW and Pandharipande PP. (2021). Dexmedetomidine or Propofol for Sedation in Mechanically Ventilated Adults with Sepsis. New England Journal of Medicine, 384(15), 1424-1436. 
Kumar CM, Chua A, Imani F and Sehat-Kashani S..(2021).  Practical considerations for dexmedetomidine sedation in adult cataract surgery under local/regional anaesthesia: a narrative review. Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, 11(4).
Kumar CM, Palte HD, Chua A, Sinha R, Shah SB, Imani F and Jalali FM. (2021). Anesthesia considerations for cataract surgery in patients with schizophrenia: a narrative review. Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, 11(2). 
Kunkel D, Parker M, Casey C, Krause B, Pearce RA, Lennertz R and Sanders RD. (2021). Impact of postoperative delirium on days alive and at home after surgery: a prospective cohort study. British Journal of Anaesthesiology, 127(6), 205-207. 
Linassi F, Obert DP, Maran E, Tellaroli P, Kreuzer M, Sanders RD and Carron M. (2021). Implicit Memory and Anesthesia: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.Life, 11(8), 850. 
Mohanta S, Afrasiabi M, Casey CP, Tanabe S, Redinbaugh MJ, Kambi NA, Phillips JM, Polyakov D, Filbey W, Austerweil JL, Sanders RD and Saalmann YB. (2021). Predictive Feedback, Early Sensory Representations, and Fast Responses to Predicted Stimuli Depend on NDMA Receptors. Journal of Neuroscience, 8(41), 49. 
Neuman MD, Feng R, Carson JL, Gaskins LJ, Dillane D, Sessler DI, Sieber F, Magaziner J, Marcantonio ER, Mehta S, Menio D, Ayad S, Stone T, Papp S, Schwenk ES, Elkassabany N, Marshall M, Jaffe JD, Luke C, Sharma B, Azim S, Hymes RA, Chin KJ, Sheppard R, Perlman B, Sappenfield J, Hauck E, Hoeft MA, Giska M, Ranganath Y, Tedore T, Choi S, Li J, Kwofie MK, Nader A, Sanders RD, Allen BFS, Vlassakov K, Kates S, Fleisher LA, Dattilo J, Tierney A, Stephens-Shields AJ and Ellenberg SS. (2021). Spinal Anaesthesia or General Anaesthesia for Hip Surgery in Older Adults. New England Journal of Medicine, 385(22), 2025-2035.
Sanders RD, Casey C and Saalmann YB. (2021). Predictive coding as a model of sensory disconnection: relevance to anaesthetic mechanisms. British Journal of Anaesthesiology, 126(1), 37-40. 
Sanders RD, Craigova L, Schessler B, Casey C, White M, Parker M, Kunkel D, Blennow K, Zetterberg H, Pearce RA and Lennertz R. (2021). Postoperative troponin increases after noncardiac surgery are associated with raised neurofilament light: a prospective observational cohort study. British Journal of Anaesthesiology, 126(4), 791-798.
Sanders RD, Wehrman J, Irons J, Dieleman J, Scott D and Shehabi Y. (2021). Meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials of perioperative dexmedetomidine to reduce delirium and mortality after cardiac surgery. British Journal of Anaesthesiology, 127(5), 168-170.
Steffens, D, Ismail, H, Denehy, L, Beckenkamp, P,  Solomon, M, Koh, C, Bartyn, J and  Pillinger, N. (2021). Preoperative Cardiopulmonary Exercise Test Associated with Postoperative Outcomes in Patients Undergoing Cancer Surgery: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analyses. Annals of Surgical Oncology, 28(12), 7120-7146. 
Steffens, D, Pillinger, N and Solomon, M. (2021). ASO Author Reflections: The Importance of the Preoperative Cardiopulmonary Exercise Test in Patients Undergoing Cancer Surgery. Annals of Surgical Oncology, 28(12), 7147-7148. 
Steffens, D, Young, J, Beckenkamp, P, Ratcliffe, J, Rubie, F, Ansari, N, Pillinger, N, Koh, C, Munoz, P and Solomon, M. (2021). Feasibility and acceptability of a preoperative exercise program for patients undergoing major cancer surgery: results from a pilot randomized controlled trial. Pilot and Feasibility Studies, 7(1), 27. 
Sultan ZW, Jaeckel ER, Krause BM, Grady SM, Murphy CA, Sanders RD and Banks MI.(2021). Electrophysiological signatures of acute systemic lipopolysaccharide-induced inflammation: potential implications for delirium science. British Journal of Anaesthesiology, 126(5), 996-1008. 
White MF, Tanabe S, Casey C, Parker M, Bo A, Kunkel D, Nair V, Pearce RA, Lennertz R, Prabhakaran V, Lindroth H and Sanders RD. (2021). Relationships between preoperative cortical thickness, postoperative electroencephalogram slowing, and postoperative delirium. British Journal of Anaesthesia, 127(2), 236-244.