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Researcher spotlight: Peter Szmuk, M.D.
Meet Peter Szmuk, M.D. is Director of Research within the division of Pediatric Anesthesiology and Pain Management at Children’s Health, and Professor of Anesthesiology at UT Southwestern Medical Center. One of Dr. Szmuk’s primary research interests is whether early exposure to inhalational anesthesia can affect long term brain development. He has participated in several multinational clinical trials to establish the long term neurodevelopmental effects of infant exposure to anesthesia, including the GAS trial, the T REX pilot study and the T REX full clinical protocol. He also conducts several clinical trials to improve the devices that are used to monitor patient safety in the perioperative period, including non-invasive oxygen and perfusion indices- which may give anesthesia providers advance indication of inadequate oxygenation; pediatric EEG evaluation, which will hopefully allow providers to more precisely maintain appropriate levels of anesthesia; and respiratory monitoring, which may be more accurate and better tolerated in pediatric patients.
Furthermore, Dr. Szmuk has been the PI on numerous clinical trials at Children’s Health. evaluating the safety, efficacy and/or pharmacokinetics of various pharmaceuticals used for anesthesia, sedation or post-operative pain control in children. Many drugs used in standard practice have not been studied in children, and consequently do not have FDA approval for use in pediatric populations. The Pediatric Research Equity Act, passed in 2007, has led to many pediatric clinic trials of drugs that have been used for years. This information gives providers more accurate dosing guidelines and better understanding of potential safety concerns and side effects.