General Anesthesia and Its Effect on Consciousness

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General Anesthesia

Since 2005, Dr. Aarohi Ambardekar has been a partner and anesthesiologist at Southern Maryland Anesthesia Associates in the community of Lanham. There, Dr. Aarohi Ambardekar offers both general and regional anesthesia as part of a complete surgical plan.

When a patient undergoes surgery and needs to be both unconscious and insensible to pain, doctors use general anesthesia. This technique actually involves a combination of drugs, both inhaled and injected, that inhibit physical and mental processes to the degree that the patient does not respond to the incision of a scalpel. This innovation has been a part of surgery in Western medicine since the mid-19th century, yet doctors and researchers are still trying to fully understand how it happens.

Doctors know that when a person undergoes general anesthesia, he or she slips through levels of increasingly deep oblivion. First disoriented and then unconscious, the patient finally goes into what doctors describe as a pharmacologically induced coma. Decades of research has concluded that this happens as each individual drug binds to particular protein receptors in nerve cells, thus inhibiting the transmission of signals.

What remains a mystery is how this neural inhibition affects brain functioning. Past researchers have attempted to identify a particular region of the brain affected by these anesthetics, but contemporary consciousness theory indicates a more holistic effect. In fact, recent investigation suggests that loss of consciousness is associated not with a quieting of signals within a particular area of the brain, but rather with the interruption of signals between brain regions.

More specifically, research shows that a lack of consciousness is associated with a loss of feedback signaling between different areas of the cortex. Some have likened the process to a piece of mail that, although delivered, is never picked up or read. The transmissions of crucial signals thus blocked, the brain cannot form the connections necessary to maintain what we know as consciousness.


Helping Patients Understand the Role of an Anesthesiologist

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Dr. Aarohi Ambardekar has functioned in a variety of roles at Southern Maryland Anesthesia Associates (SMAA), LLC, in Lanham, Maryland, since joining the group as a partner in 2005. A consultant anesthesiologist, he also serves the group as compliance officer and, in the past, as a quality and assurance officer. Dr. Aarohi Ambardekar maintains memberships with a number of local and national anesthesiology groups, including the Maryland State Anesthesiology Association.

The Maryland State Anesthesiology Association (MSA) is a policy group operating with the goal of promoting effective anesthesia services to patients throughout the state. MSA works in various areas of patient care, following a decades-long trend of anesthesiologists acting as pioneers on matters of patient safety. One of the organization’s most basic efforts in this regard involves increasing a patient’s knowledge of the field and familiarizing themselves with the objectives of a trained anesthesiologist.

To start, nearly 60 percent of Americans do not believe that anesthesiologists have been subjected to the same academic rigors as other physicians. In reality the average anesthesiologist has accrued between 12 and 14 years of education, to go along with as many as 16,000 hours of medical training. Patients may also be unaware of the extensive role anesthesiologists play. Beyond their work in the operating and recovery rooms, anesthesiologists conduct pre-operative interviews with patients and often engage in long-term care services as a hospitalist or pain management specialist. More important patient information can be found at the MSA website,

ABA Studies Oral Exam Relationship to License Challenges

American Board of Anesthesiology  pic
American Board of Anesthesiology

Since 2005, Dr. Aarohi Ambardekar has functioned as an anesthesiologist and a partner at Southern Maryland Anesthesia Associates in Lanham. In addition to his medical education, Dr. Aarohi Ambardekar has received certification to practice his specialty from the American Board of Anesthesiology (ABA).

According to “Effectiveness of Written and Oral Certification Examinations to Predict Actions against the Medical Licenses of Anesthesiologists,” a study conducted by the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) in partnership with the ABA and published in a recent issue of Anesthesiology, physicians who pass the ABA’s oral examination will face fewer challenges to their licensure than those who pass the written exam alone or neither of the exams. To sit for the oral exam, which measures, among other things, decision-making skills and adaptability to unanticipated clinical exigencies, physicians must first pass the written exam.

For the purposes of this study, the ABA and FSMB studied data from nearly 50,000 physicians who went into the anesthesiology field over the 40-year period between 1971 and 2011.

ASA Names New Interim Chief Quality Officer

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American Society of Anesthesiologists

Since 2005, physician anesthesiologist Dr. Aarohi Ambardekar has created patient-specific anesthetic plans at Southern Maryland Anesthesia Associates (SMAA), in Lanham, Maryland. Dr. Aarohi Ambardekar also participates in the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA).

The ASA recently identified Alex Hannenberg, M.D., as the organization’s interim chief quality officer. A faculty member at Tufts University School of Medicine, Dr. Hannenberg has long been active in the anesthesiologist professional community. He has a longstanding work history with the ASA and has served the organization in various capacities over the years. Dr. Hannenberg has also earned multiple honors in recognition of his notable outreach and contributions in the area of global health.

The interim role will place Dr. Hannenberg at the helm of the organization’s Quality and Practice Advancement Division. In this capacity, he will oversee issues of regulatory compliance and liaison with organizations that govern field regulatory changes and medical and scientific advancement.

Blood Cells Treated with Nitric Oxide May Lower Hypertension Risk

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Hypertension Risk

For more than a decade, Dr. Aarohi Ambardekar has practiced as an anesthesiologist and partner at Southern Maryland Anesthesia Associates (SMAA) in Lanham, Maryland. As a matter of professional interest as well as his continuing education, Dr. Aarohi Ambardekar maintains membership in the American Society of Anesthesiologists.

According to a recent study published in the journal of the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA), treating red blood cells (RBCs) with nitric oxide prior to transfusion can reduce the risk of high blood pressure. Patients who receive transfusions are at an elevated risk of developing pulmonary hypertension in the lungs, which can lead to more significant cardiovascular issues, including heart failure. According to researchers, pretreating the blood with nitric oxide can offset this risk.

Researchers stored red blood cells extracted from lambs for use in the trial. After a 40-day storage period, some of the cells were treated with nitric oxide. Lambs then received transfusions of either treated or untreated RBCs. Data showed the lambs that received untreated blood saw double the incidence of blood vessel constriction as compared to lambs that had been transfused with the treated RBCs.

Researchers say that testing nitric oxide-treated RBCs from human patients is now necessary to see if the results carry over to the human population.

American Society of Anesthesiologists Elects a Vice President

American Society of Anesthesiologists pic
American Society of Anesthesiologists

Since 2005, Dr. Aarohi Ambardekar has served as an anesthesiologist and partner at Southern Maryland Anesthesia Associates, located in Lanham, Maryland. In conjunction with his career, Dr. Aarohi Ambardekar maintains an active membership with the American Society of Anesthesiologists.

At the recent annual meeting of the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA), the members elected Linda J. Mason, MD, as the organization’s vice president, the first ever. As a member of the ASA Executive Committee, Dr. Mason will sit alongside the current president, the president-elect, and the former president. Together, they will develop and implement policies that the ASA House of Delegates and ASA Board of Directors have voted to enact. A certified pediatric anesthesiologist, Dr. Mason earlier sat on the ASA board for a decade as a director.

Dr. Mason currently serves as the director of pediatric anesthesiology at Loma Linda University Medical Center. She also teaches anesthesiology and pediatrics as a professor at Loma Linda University, where she received her medical degree and did her residency.