Cristian Arzola

Cristian Arzola MD, MSc
Associate Professor
Christian Arzola
Contact Info
T: (416) 586-5270
F: (416) 586-8664
Mount Sinai Hospital
600 University Avenue
19th Floor, Room 19-104
Toronto, ON, M5G 1X5
contact faculty member for more information
MD, University of Chile
Anesthesiology, University of Chile
Obstetric Anesthesia Fellowship, Mount Sinai Hospital - University of Toronto
MSc Clinical Epidemiology, Universidad de la Frontera, Chile
Active Staff, Department of Anesthesia and Pain Management, Mount Sinai
Associate Staff, Department of Anesthesia and Pain Management, University Health Network
Associate Staff, Kensington Eye Institute
Editorial Board, Obstetric Anesthesia Digest
Clinical Interests
obstetrical anesthesia, regional anesthesia & ultrasound
Research Interests
obstetrical anesthesia, ultrasound


Research Synopsis

In the past years, anesthesiologists have progressively incorporated the use of ultrasound guidance to facilitate the performance of various procedures such as vascular access and peripheral nerve blockade to improve their efficacy and safety. Furthermore, anesthesiologists have also incorporated the concept of Point-of-care ultrasonography (POCUS) that is performed and interpreted by the clinician at the bedside. Dr. Arzola's research aims to conduct clinical investigation into problems and questions related to ultrasound-assisted procedures and Point-of-Care Ultrasonography in anesthesiology with a special interest in obstetric Anesthesia.

The use of spinal ultrasound to facilitate neuraxial anesthesia has been an important line of research. His team explored spinal and epidurals in the lumbar spine for obstetric and orthopedic patients as well as epidurals in the thoracic spine. The influence of this line of research has reached national guidelines (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence-NICE, UK), publications in high impact anesthesiology journals and wide scope medical journal (British Medical Journal). As a result, this research has generated multiple national and international invited lectures and workshops. Pulmonary aspiration of gastric contents is a serious perioperative complication that carries significant morbidity and mortality and gastric content and volume assessment is a new point-of-care ultrasound application that can help determine aspiration risk. His research team has described learning curves to acquire competence in gastric ultrasound, reliability of ultrasound assessment of gastric volume and characterization of various populations such as adults and pregnant women. Furthermore, we have secured funding support from a peer-review grant to investigate the obstetric population. Other areas of research include the use of ultrasound for airway management such as crycothyrotomy in the context of surgical airway and lung ultrasound in high-risk obstetric patients.


Anesthesiology Residency program, University of Toronto
Obstetric anesthesia fellowship program, Mount Sinai Hospital and University of Toronto
Toronto Anesthesia Symposium. MSH-UH, University of Toronto
Ultrasound workshops
Annual Meeting Canadian Anesthesiologists’ Society (CAS)
Ultrasound workshops
Society of Obstetric Anesthesia and Perinatology (SOAP)
Ultrasound workshops
Annual Postgraduate Assembly in Anesthesiology (PGA), The New York State Society of Anesthesiologist.
Ultrasound workshops
Annual Comprehensive Regional Anesthesia Workshop, State University of New York, Buffalo (SUNY)

Publications and Awards

View PubMed search of this faculty member's recent publications.

Recent Publications

  1. Arzola, C., Perlas, A., Siddiqui, N. T., & Carvalho, J. C. A. (2015). Bedside Gastric Ultrasonography in Term Pregnant Women Before Elective Cesarean Delivery: A Prospective Cohort Study. Anesthesia & Analgesia, 121(3), 752–758.
  2. Arzola, C., Mikhael, R., Margarido, C., & Carvalho, J. C. A. (2015). Spinal ultrasound versus palpation for epidural catheter insertion in labour: A randomised controlled trial. European Journal of Anaesthesiology, 32(7), 499–505.
  3. Siddiqui, N., Arzola, C., Friedman, Z., Guerina, L., & You-Ten, K. E. (2015). Ultrasound Improves Cricothyrotomy Success in Cadavers with Poorly Defined Neck Anatomy: A Randomized Control Trial. Anesthesiology, 2015.
  4. You-Ten, K. E., Wong, C., Arzola, C., Cheung, J., Friedman, Z., Perelman, S., & Siddiqui, N. (2015). Role of contextualizing a crisis scenario on the performance of a cricothyrotomy procedural task. Canadian Journal of Anesthesia, 62(10), 1104–1113.
  5. Arzola, C., Cubillos, J., Perlas, A., Downey, K., & Carvalho, J. C. A. (2014). Interrater reliability of qualitative ultrasound assessment of gastric content in the third trimester of pregnancy. British Journal of Anaesthesia, 113(6), 1018–1023.
  6. Kruisselbrink, R., Arzola, C., Endersby, R., Tse, C., Chan, V., & Perlas, A. (2014). Intra- and interrater reliability of ultrasound assessment of gastric volume. Anesthesiology, 121(1), 46–51.
  7. Terblanche, N. C. S., Arzola, C., Wills, K. E., Lawson, R., Blackford, D., & Balki, M. (2014). Standardised training program in spinal ultrasound for epidural insertion: Protocol-driven versus non-protocol driven teaching approach. Anaesthesia and Intensive Care, 42(4), 460-6. Retrieved from
  8. Arzola, C., Carvalho, J. C. A., Cubillos, J., Ye, X. Y., & Perlas, A. (2013). Anesthesiologists' learning curves for bedside qualitative ultrasound assessment of gastric content: a cohort study. Canadian Journal of Anesthesia, 60(8), 771–779.
  9. Shaikh, F., Brzezinski, J., Alexander, S., Arzola, C., Carvalho, J. C. A., Beyene, J., & Sung, L. (2013). Ultrasound imaging for lumbar punctures and epidural catheterisations: systematic review and meta-analysis. Bmj, 346, f1720.
  10. Arzola, C., & Wieczorek, P. M. (2011). Efficacy of low-dose bupivacaine in spinal anaesthesia for Caesarean delivery: systematic review and meta-analysis. British Journal of Anaesthesia, 107(3), 308–318.

Honours and Awards

2014-2015 Department of Anesthesia Clinical Excellence Award, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto. Toronto, Ontario, Canada
2012-2013 Fellowship Teaching Award, Mount Sinai Hospital-University Health Network, Department of Anesthesia and Pain Management, Toronto, Ontario, Canada