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Mark Dershwitz MD, PhD

InstitutionUMass Chan Medical School
DepartmentAnesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine
AddressUMass Chan Medical School
55 Lake Avenue North
Worcester MA 01655
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    Other Positions
    InstitutionT.H. Chan School of Medicine
    DepartmentAnesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine

    InstitutionT.H. Chan School of Medicine
    DepartmentBiochemistry and Molecular Biotechnology

    InstitutionMorningside Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences
    DepartmentMillennium MD/PhD Program

    Collapse Biography 
    Collapse education and training
    Oakland University, Rochester, MI, United StatesBAChemistry
    Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, United StatesPHDPharmacology
    Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL, United StatesMD
    Collapse awards and honors
    2017Lamar Soutter Award for Excellence in Medical Education, UMass Medical School
    2016Outstanding Medical Educator Award, UMass Medical School
    2012 - 2014Outstanding Medical Educator Award, UMass Medical School
    2011Educational Achievement "Star" Award, UMass Medical School
    2005Teaching Recognition Award, Honorable Mention, International Anesthesia Research Society
    2002 - 2003Outstanding Teacher Award, UMass Department of Anesthesiology
    2001Distinguished Alumnus Award, Oakland University Department of Chemistry

    Collapse Overview 
    Collapse overview

    Academic Background

    Ph.D. (Pharmacology) Northwestern University, 1982
    M.D. Northwestern University, 1982

    Postdoctoral Training

    Massachusetts General Hospital, Residency in Anesthesiology, 1984-86
    Massachusetts General Hospital, Research Fellowship in Anesthesiology, 1986-88

    Photo: Mark Dershwitz, M.D., Ph.D.

    Although anesthetics have been given primarily via the inhalational route throughout the history of anesthesiology, I am interested in the pharmacokinetics (PK) and pharmacodynamics (PD) of intravenous anesthetics. I was involved in the initial clinical trial of the opioid remifentanil whose novel pathway of elimination, via tissue esterases, causes it to have an extremely short duration of action. That study demonstrated that the pharmacological effects of the drug can be expected to wear off within a few minutes regardless of the cumulative dose administered. Subsequently I studied remifentanil in persons with severe hepatic failure or with renal failure requiring dialysis. Based on the known pathway of remifentanil metabolism, such organ dysfunction should have no effect on its PK. These experiments, in which the persons with organ dysfunction were studied as volunteers, demonstrated that as expected remifentanil was as short-acting in these persons as in matched control subjects without organ disease. In addition, the PD experiments showed that persons with liver failure were more sensitive to the ventilatory depressant effects of remifentanil.

    Despite the use of morphine in medicine for thousands of years, until recently there was no simultaneous PK/PD study of morphine in humans. This study, again performed in volunteers, showed that even after intravenous administration, the time required for the peak morphine effect to occur was approximately 1.5 hr.

    Postoperative nausea and vomiting (PONV) remains a significant problem after anesthesia. I have been involved in several studies on two of the antiemetics that are antagonists at the 5-HT3 receptor, ondansetron and dolasetron. In addition, I performed the first detailed dose-response study of ondansetron in preventing PONV.

    Droperidol is the most effective single agent in preventing PONV.  Unfortunately, since 2001 it has carried a boxed warning because of its alleged risk in causing cardiac arrhythmias.  I performed and published a detailed safety analysis using FDA's own safety data showing that the boxed warning is unwarranted when droperidol is given at the usual antiemetic doses.

    Collapse Bibliographic 
    Collapse selected publications
    Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Faculty can login to make corrections and additions.
    Newest   |   Oldest   |   Most Cited   |   Most Discussed   |   Timeline   |   Field Summary   |   Plain Text
    PMC Citations indicate the number of times the publication was cited by articles in PubMed Central, and the Altmetric score represents citations in news articles and social media. (Note that publications are often cited in additional ways that are not shown here.) Fields are based on how the National Library of Medicine (NLM) classifies the publication's journal and might not represent the specific topic of the publication. Translation tags are based on the publication type and the MeSH terms NLM assigns to the publication. Some publications (especially newer ones and publications not in PubMed) might not yet be assigned Field or Translation tags.) Click a Field or Translation tag to filter the publications.
    1. Shay D, Kumar B, Redaelli S, von Wedel D, Liu M, Dershwitz M, Schaefer MS, Beam A. Could ChatGPT-4 pass an anaesthesiology board examination? Follow-up assessment of a comprehensive set of board examination practice questions. Br J Anaesth. 2024 Jan; 132(1):172-174. PMID: 37996275.
      Citations:    Fields:    Translation:Humans
    2. Shay D, Kumar B, Bellamy D, Palepu A, Dershwitz M, Walz JM, Schaefer MS, Beam A. Assessment of ChatGPT success with specialty medical knowledge using anaesthesiology board examination practice questions. Br J Anaesth. 2023 08; 131(2):e31-e34. PMID: 37210278.
      Citations: 3     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    3. Cooper JB, Blum RH, Carroll JS, Dershwitz M, Feinstein DM, Gaba DM, Morey JC, Singla AK. Differences in safety climate among hospital anesthesia departments and the effect of a realistic simulation-based training program. Anesth Analg. 2008 Feb; 106(2):574-84, table of contents. PMID: 18227319.
      Citations: 11     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    4. Dershwitz M. Droperidol: should the black box be light gray? J Clin Anesth. 2002 Dec; 14(8):598-603. PMID: 12565120.
      Citations: 1     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    5. Dershwitz M, Michalowski P, Chang Y, Rosow CE, Conlay LA. Postoperative nausea and vomiting after total intravenous anesthesia with propofol and remifentanil or alfentanil: how important is the opioid? J Clin Anesth. 2002 Jun; 14(4):275-8. PMID: 12088811.
      Citations: 12     Fields:    Translation:HumansCTClinical Trials
    6. Dershwitz M, Walsh JL, Morishige RJ, Connors PM, Rubsamen RM, Shafer SL, Rosow CE. Pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of inhaled versus intravenous morphine in healthy volunteers. Anesthesiology. 2000 Sep; 93(3):619-28. PMID: 10969293.
      Citations: 30     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    7. Philip BK, Pearman MH, Kovac AL, Chelly JE, Wetchler BV, McKenzie R, Monk TG, Dershwitz M, Mingus M, Sung YF, Hahne WF, Brown RA. Dolasetron for the prevention of postoperative nausea and vomiting following outpatient surgery with general anaesthesia: a randomized, placebo-controlled study. The Dolasetron PONV Prevention Study Group. Eur J Anaesthesiol. 2000 Jan; 17(1):23-32. PMID: 10758440.
      Citations: 5     Fields:    Translation:HumansCTClinical Trials
    8. Dershwitz M, Conant JA, Chang Y, Rosow CE, Connors PM. A randomized, double-blind, dose-response study of ondansetron in the prevention of postoperative nausea and vomiting. J Clin Anesth. 1998 Jun; 10(4):314-20. PMID: 9667348.
      Citations: 5     Fields:    Translation:HumansCTClinical Trials
    9. Kearse LA, Rosow C, Zaslavsky A, Connors P, Dershwitz M, Denman W. Bispectral analysis of the electroencephalogram predicts conscious processing of information during propofol sedation and hypnosis. Anesthesiology. 1998 Jan; 88(1):25-34. PMID: 9447852.
      Citations: 34     Fields:    Translation:HumansCTClinical Trials
    10. Hoke JF, Shlugman D, Dershwitz M, Michalowski P, Malthouse-Dufore S, Connors PM, Martel D, Rosow CE, Muir KT, Rubin N, Glass PS. Pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of remifentanil in persons with renal failure compared with healthy volunteers. Anesthesiology. 1997 Sep; 87(3):533-41. PMID: 9316957.
      Citations: 34     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    11. Dershwitz M, Rosow CE. The pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of remifentanil in volunteers with severe hepatic or renal dysfunction. J Clin Anesth. 1996 May; 8(3 Suppl):88S-90S. PMID: 8695124.
      Citations: 7     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    12. Dershwitz M, Hoke JF, Rosow CE, Michalowski P, Connors PM, Muir KT, Dienstag JL. Pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of remifentanil in volunteer subjects with severe liver disease. Anesthesiology. 1996 Apr; 84(4):812-20. PMID: 8638835.
      Citations: 38     Fields:    Translation:HumansCTClinical Trials
    13. Dershwitz M, Randel GI, Rosow CE, Fragen RJ, Connors PM, Librojo ES, Shaw DL, Peng AW, Jamerson BD. Initial clinical experience with remifentanil, a new opioid metabolized by esterases. Anesth Analg. 1995 Sep; 81(3):619-23. PMID: 7653833.
      Citations: 18     Fields:    Translation:HumansCTClinical Trials
    14. McKenzie R, Sharifi-Azad S, Dershwitz M, Miguel R, Joslyn AF, Tantisira B, Rosenblum F, Rosow CE, Downs JB, Bowie JR, et al. A randomized, double-blind pilot study examining the use of intravenous ondansetron in the prevention of postoperative nausea and vomiting in female inpatients. J Clin Anesth. 1993 Jan-Feb; 5(1):30-6. PMID: 8442964.
      Citations: 5     Fields:    Translation:HumansCTClinical Trials
    15. Dershwitz M, Di Biase PM, Rosow CE, Wilson RS, Sanderson PE, Joslyn AF. Ondansetron does not affect alfentanil-induced ventilatory depression or sedation. Anesthesiology. 1992 Sep; 77(3):447-52. PMID: 1387767.
      Citations: 4     Fields:    Translation:HumansCTClinical Trials
    16. Dershwitz M, Rosow CE, Di Biase PM, Joslyn AF, Sanderson PE. Ondansetron is effective in decreasing postoperative nausea and vomiting. Clin Pharmacol Ther. 1992 Jul; 52(1):96-101. PMID: 1385567.
      Citations: 5     Fields:    Translation:HumansCTClinical Trials
    17. Dershwitz M, Rosow CE, DiBiase PM, Zaslavsky A. Comparison of the sedative effects of butorphanol and midazolam. Anesthesiology. 1991 Apr; 74(4):717-24. PMID: 2008954.
      Citations: 7     Fields:    Translation:HumansCTClinical Trials
    18. Dershwitz M, Sherman EP. Acute myocardial infarction symptoms masked by epidural morphine? J Clin Anesth. 1991 Mar-Apr; 3(2):146-8. PMID: 2039643.
      Citations: 1     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    19. Dershwitz M, Sr?ter FA. Azumolene reverses episodes of malignant hyperthermia in susceptible swine. Anesth Analg. 1990 Mar; 70(3):253-5. PMID: 2305975.
      Citations: 3     Fields:    Translation:Animals
    20. Dershwitz M, Sr?ter FA, Ryan JF. Ketamine does not trigger malignant hyperthermia in susceptible swine. Anesth Analg. 1989 Oct; 69(4):501-3. PMID: 2782651.
      Citations: 6     Fields:    Translation:Animals
    21. Dershwitz M, Ryan JF, Guralnick W. Safety of amide local anesthetics in patients susceptible to malignant hyperthermia. J Am Dent Assoc. 1989 Mar; 118(3):276, 278, 280. PMID: 2646341.
      Citations:    Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimals
    22. Dershwitz M, Ts'ao CH, Novak RF. Metabolic and morphologic effects of the antimicrobial agent nitrofurantoin on human erythrocytes in vitro. Biochem Pharmacol. 1985 Jun 01; 34(11):1963-70. PMID: 4004912.
      Citations:    Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
    23. Dershwitz M, Novak RF. Studies on the mechanism of nitrofurantoin-mediated red cell toxicity. J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 1982 Aug; 222(2):430-4. PMID: 6284910.
      Citations:    Fields:    Translation:HumansCells
    24. Dershwitz M, Novak RF. Generation of superoxide via the interaction of nitrofurantoin with oxyhemoglobin. J Biol Chem. 1982 Jan 10; 257(1):75-9. PMID: 6273444.
      Citations: 4     Fields:    Translation:AnimalsCells
    25. Dershwitz M, Novak RF. Lack of inhibition of glutathione reductase by anthracycline antibiotics. Biochem Pharmacol. 1981 Mar 15; 30(6):676-8. PMID: 7271908.
      Citations: 1     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    26. Dershwitz M, Novak RF. Lack of inhibition of glutathione reductase by unnitrated derivatives of nitrofurantoin. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 1980 Feb 27; 92(4):1313-9. PMID: 6989365.
      Citations: 1     Fields:    Translation:HumansAnimals
    27. Novak RF, Dershwitz M, Novak FC. Characterization of the interaction of the aromatic hydrocarbons benzene and toluene with human hemoglobin. Mol Pharmacol. 1979 Nov; 16(3):1046-58. PMID: 530248.
      Citations: 2     Fields:    Translation:Humans
    28. Novak RF, Dershwitz M, Novak FC. The interaction of benzene with human hemoglobin as studied by 1H Fourier transform NMR spectroscopy. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 1978 May 30; 82(2):634-40. PMID: 666865.
      Citations:    Fields:    Translation:Humans
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