• Critical Care Committee

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    The committee has been quite busy, working both on its own and in collaboration with other committees of the AAST.  Our first effort was to craft a mission statement to help guide our efforts, primarily to help us focus on what was within scope and what might best be left to other committees or societies related to critical care.   


    The mission of the AAST Critical Care Committee is to conduct, promote, and disseminate research, education and best practices related to the critical care of critically injured trauma and emergency general surgery patients to the membership, highlight the specialty of surgical critical care and advocate for the specialty within the AAST and beyond. 

    Annual meeting

    Three members of the Critical Care Committee joined the Program Committee to score all of the abstracts for the annual meeting—Karen Brasel, Joe Cuschieri, and Chris Michetti.

    There will be several offerings at the annual meeting related to critical care.  The first lunch session will discuss resuscitation in the post-PAC era, moderated by Alex Axelrod with speakers Niels Martin, Erik Barquist, and Karen Brasel.  The second lunch session is in collaboration with the geriatric committee, and will focus on the geriatric patient with traumatic brain injury.  That session is moderated by Bob Barraco, with speakers Bellal Joseph, Deb Stein, and Karen Brasel.  The MOC session held just prior to the annual meeting will have three speakers focused on areas in critical care: Deb Stein will provide an update on the Brain Trauma Foundation guidelines, Wendy Greene an update on the new ASPEN/SCCM nutrition guidelines, and Steve Johnson will give an update on Surviving Sepsis and the IDSA guidelines.

    New at the annual meeting this year will be recognition of the best critical care paper.  The committee will continue to judge the best paper presented by a resident.


    One of the areas that we have discussed extensively is the lack of data regarding critical care practices specific to our patients.  As a result, we are often taking information from clinical trials performed on patients with few or no surgical or trauma patients and applying it broadly.  While this may or may not be appropriate, we need to understand where this is happening, and what opportunities exist to increase the knowledge that is specific to our patient population.  Dennis Kim is leading an effort to define the gaps in current critical care practice related specifically to critically ill surgical/trauma patients.  This effort will then inform further studies.

    Two studies from the Critical Care Committee have been approved by the Multi-Institutional Trials Committee.  The first, with principal investigator Chris Michetti, is the Trauma ICU Prevalence Project.  This study will collect information on all patients in participating ICUs on two days, separated by approximately 6 months.  This information will allow us to understand better the population we all care for, and will serve as information to help guide enrollment for future interventional studies.  The second, Geri-TBI, is a collaboration with the geriatric committee, and is a prospective observational study of geriatric patients with traumatic brain injury.  Principal investigators for this study are Jennifer Albrecht, Bob Barraco, Karen Brasel, Zara Cooper, Bellal Joseph, Rosemary Kozar, and Deb Stein.  Look for information on how to participate in both of these studies soon! 


    Ron Simon, Anu Subramanian, and Sonlee West are heading an effort to provide in-depth reviews of the best critical care papers of the previous year.  These will be offered electronically, and will have CME credit available quarterly.  The committee has presented one webinar, with plans to hold another in the fall with a goal of twice yearly. 


    Critical Care is one of the three integral components of acute care surgery.  However, it does not exist in a vacuum.  There are several areas of overlap with other committees as well as other societies.  We currently have several things that we are doing with the geriatric committee, and are currently talking with members of Geri-Trac to further that collaboration.  We have a representative from the SCCPDS and we have ongoing calls with the leadership of SCCM.  Collaboration with the MITC has already been successful, and we look forward to getting our first study completed with this mechanism.  All of these collaborations are central to realizing the goals outlined by the Board of Managers Strategic Plan.

    Committee Members


    • Karen Brasel (2016 - 2019)


    • Addison May (2017 - 2020)
    • Alexander Axelrad (2015 - 2018)
    • Christine Cocanour (2017 - 2020)
    • Christopher Michetti (2016 - 2019)
    • David Gourlay (2017 - 2020)
    • David Zonies (2017 - 2020)
    • Dennis Kim (2016 - 2019)
    • Heather Dolman (2017 - 2020)
    • Joseph Cuschieri (2016 - 2019)
    • Krishnan Raghavendran (2016 - 2019)
    • Matthew Lissauer (2017 - 2020)
    • Melvin Stone Jr (2017 - 2020)
    • Michaela West (2015 - 2018)
    • Niels Martin (2016 - 2019)
    • Panna Codner (2017 - 2020)
    • Pauline Park (2017 - 2020)
    • Rachael Callcut (2017 - 2020)
    • Richard Bagdonas (2015 - 2018)
    • Ronald Simon (2017 - 2020)
    • Sonlee West (2015 - 2018)
    • Susan Evans (2015 - 2018)
    • Travis Polk (2017 - 2020)
    • Wendy Greene (2015 - 2018)

    SCCPDS Representative

    • Charles Adams, Jr. (2015 - 2018)