Dr. Brennan receives Modell funding for gastric emptying study

Dr. Meghan Brennan

Meghan Brennan, M.D., assistant professor of anesthesiology, has been awarded funding from the Jerome H. Modell Endowed Professorship for a research study using point-of-care gastric ultrasound to assess perioperative aspiration risk in patients in the intensive care unit. The project also seeks to evaluate the appropriateness of current perioperative fasting guidelines.

The Study

The study, titled “Point of care gastric ultrasound for estimation of the gastric contents in patients admitted to the intensive care units with ongoing enteral feeds via temporary post pyloric nasal or oral feeding tube,” will be funded for two years from the professorship. Nik Gravenstein, M.D., professor of anesthesiology, currently holds the endowed professorship.

Critical illness, traumatic injuries, and burns are associated with delayed gastric emptying and gastric dysmotility. Critically ill surgical patients frequently experience malnutrition that requires temporary nasal or oral post-pyloric feeding tube placement for enteral feeds. Additionally, this patient population may require frequent surgical procedures, leading to interruption of enteral feeds preoperatively because of the increased risk of aspiration-related pulmonary complications.

Data evaluating gastric volumes and perioperative aspiration risk in these patients are limited and no consistent preoperative fasting guidelines exist. Point-of-care gastric ultrasound may provide important information about the contribution of post-pyloric enteral feeds to gastric contents and the risk of a “full stomach” in patients in the intensive care unit.


Cameron Smith, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of anesthesiology, will be a significant contributor to the project. Other contributors include Wendy Guo; Larry Caruso, M.D.; Amanda Frantz, M.D.; Tyler Loftus, M.D.; Erin Vanzant, M.D.; Martin Rosenthal, M.D., FACS; Melissa Burger, M.D.; Jonathan Cates, M.D.; Nikolaus Gravenstein, M.D.; and Owen DeAngelis.

Congratulations, Dr. Brennan!

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