Associate Professor

Ahtsham Niazi

Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
2075 Bayview Avenue, Toronto, Ontario Canada M4N3M5
Research Interests
acute pain, education, ultrasound
Clinical Interests
acute pain, ambulatory anesthesia, regional anesthesia & ultrasound
contact faculty member for more information

In addition to his contibutions to research (see below), Dr. Niazi is also interested in teaching. He has been the site coordinator for undergraduate medical education and a member of the undergraduate medical education committee for the last five years. During this time he has been nominated for and has received multiple awards for teaching. These nominations have been made by Dr. Niazi’a colleagues and students. He has also developed the regional anesthesia e-module which is part of the curriculum for undergraduate anesthesia learning. The module has an average review of 4.6 on a Likert scale of 1-5.


Research Synopsis


Dr. Niazi’s research interests include ultrasound guided regional anesthesia, acute pain management and education. Since his appointment, he has focused his research on how to teach ultrasound guided regional anesthesia to new trainees. He has studied the use of simulation and virtual reality to see if the skills required for ultrasound guided regional anesthesia can be taught outside of the operating room so that trainees are “pre-trained” prior to their first clinical experience. To promote simulation training Dr. Niazi has developed a simulation laboratory for training in ultrasound guided regional anesthesia. This laboratory contains part task trainers for upper and lower limb peripheral nerve blocks. To promote the use of ultrasound for neuraxial anesthesia he developed the open access, online “virtual spine” model. This model was developed with the help of Dr. Gordon Tait and the Perioperative Interactive Education (PIE) team. The virtual spine model is a virtual model of the spine and helps student perform ultrasound mapping of the lumbar spine. This model has been accessed from all over the world and receives on average 25, 000 visitors per year. The module is also featured on the Canadian Anesthesiology Society website where a link is provided to the Virtual Spine website from their page for “Sites aimed at Anesthesia Trainees and Teachers”. 


Recent Publications


  1. Cruz Eng H, Riazi S, Veillette C, Ami N, Niazi AU, Chin KJ, Chan V, Perlas A. Early discharge and ambulatory continuous brachial plexus analgesia is a cost-effective alternative to standard inpatient care following complex arthroscopic elbow surgery. Anesthesiology  2015 In Press. Coauthor or Collaborator.
  2. Alakkad H, Kruisselbrink R, Chin KJ, Niazi AU, Abbas S, Chan VW, Perlas A. Point-of-care ultrasound defines gastric content and changes the anesthetic management of elective surgical patients who have not followed fasting instructions: a prospective case series. Can J Anaesth. 2015 In Press. Coauthor or Collaborator
  3. McVicar J, Niazi AU, Murgatroyd H, Chin KJ, Chan VW. Novice Performance of Ultrasound-Guided Needling Skills: Effect of a Needle Guidance System. Reg Anesth Pain Med. 2015 Mar;40(2):150-153 (Trainee publication, Fellow in Regional Anesthesia). Senior Responsible Author.
  4. Burckett-St Laurent DA, Niazi AU, Cunningham MS, Jaeger M, Abbas S, McVicar J, Chan VW. A valid and reliable assessment tool for remote simulation-based ultrasound-guided regional anesthesia. Reg Anesth Pain Med. 2014 Nov;39(6):496-501 (Trainee publication, Burckett St. Laurent DA - Clinical Regional Anesthesia Fellow). Co-Principal Author.
  5. Lewis SJ, Keshen N, Lewis DH, Dear T, Mehrkens A, Niazi AU. Tension Pneumothorax as a Complication of Inadvertent Pleural Tears during Posterior Spinal Surgery. Spine Deformity. 2014 Jul;2(4):316-321. Coauthor or Collaborator.
  6. Niazi AU, Chin KJ, Jin R, Chan VW. Real-time ultrasound-guided spinal anesthesia using the SonixGPS ultrasound guidance system: a feasibility study. Acta Anaesthesiol Scand. 2014 Jun 18;7(58):875-8. Principal Author.
  7. Niazi AU, El-Beheiry H, Ramlogan R, Graham B, von Schroeder HP, Tumber PS. Continuous Infraclavicular Brachial Plexus Blockade: Effect on Survival of Replanted Digits. Journal of Hand Surgery. 2013 Oct;18(3):325-30. Principal Author.
  8. Niazi AU, Tait G, Carvalho J, Chan V. The use of an online three dimensional model improves performance in ultrasound scanning of the spine: a randomized trial. Canadian Journal of Anesthesia. 2013 Feb;60(5):458-464. Principal Author.
  9. Niazi AU, Haldipur N, Prasad AG, Chan VW. Ultrasound-Guided Regional Anesthesia Performance in the Early Learning Period: Effect of Simulation Training. Regional Anesthesia Pain Medicine. 2012 Jan;37(1):51-54. Principal Author.



Associate Staff, Department of Anesthesia, University Health Network, Women’s College Hospital
Consultant Staff, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
Active Staff, Department of Anesthesia and Pain Management, University Health Network, Toronto Western Hospital


Honours and Awards

Name: Dr. John Desmond Award


Department of Anesthesia, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Undergraduate Education, Specialty: Anesthesia)
Recognition of excellence in clinical teaching of undergraduate students.

Name: Individual Teaching Excellence Award

Faculty of Medicine, Wightman-Berris Academy, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Undergraduate Education, MD, Specialty: Anesthesia)
Excellence in Teaching Undergraduate Medical Students.

Name: Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching

Mount Sinai Hospital and University Health Network, Department of Anesthesia and Pain Management. Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Undergraduate Education, Undergraduate MD)
This award is presented annually to a faculty member for exceptional contribution to the Undergraduate program, whether through teaching or administration.

Name: Best Oral Presentation, Anesthesia Faculty Development Day

University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Research Award)
Telesimulation: An Effective and Feasible Method to Teach Ultrasound-Guided Regional Anesthesia Remotely.

Name: People's Choice Award for Best Presentation, Faculty Development Day

University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Distinction)
The use of an online three-dimensional model improves performance in ultrasound scanning of the spine: a randomized trial.