Assistant Professor

Ashwin Sankar



St. Michael's Hospital
30 Bond Street, Toronto, Ontario Canada M5G 1W8
Research Interests
• Clinical Epidemiology • Perioperative Medicine • Health Services • Clinical Outcomes
Clinical Interests
• Clinical Anesthesiology • Perioperative Medicine • Acute Pain

Dr. Sankar is a Clinician-Investigator in anesthesiology and perioperative medicine based at St. Michael's Hospital. He obtained his undergraduate degree in Health Sciences at McMaster University, followed by his medical degree at the University of Toronto. He was recruited to the Anesthesiology Clinician Investigator residency program at the University of Toronto, where he completed Anesthesiology residency training in addition to a MSc in Clinical Epidemiology and Health Care Research at the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation. He currently practices across the full scope of clinical anesthesiology, and is building a research program in perioperative respiratory medicine.

Research Synopsis

Postoperative pulmonary complications occur in nearly 20% of 30 million patients who undergo inpatient surgery worldwide every year. There is paucity of research identifying patients at risk of these complications, diagnosing these complications during and after surgery, and treating these complications. Dr. Sankar's program of research is focused on predicting, preventing, and treating respiratory complications among high-risk surgical patients.

Dr. Sankar currently uses existing data sources, such as health administrative databases housed at IC\ES, to answer questions relevant to the perioperative respiratory care of surgical patients and examine outcomes among patients with respiratory comorbidities undergoing major surgery. He plans to subsequently start a clinical trials program targeted at high-risk groups aimed at improving outcomes after major surgery.

His research has been featured in premier journals including Anesthesiology and British Journal of Anesthesia. His work has generated numerous awards, including best in conference awards in international meetings such as the American Society of Anesthesiology and the Society of Anesthesia and Sleep Medicine.

Recent Publications

  1. Sankar A, Thorpe KE, Gershon AS, Granton JT, Wijeysundera DN. Association of Preoperative Spirometry with Cardiopulmonary Fitness and Postoperative Outcomes in Surgical Patients: A Multicentre Prospective Cohort Study. eClinicalMedicine. 2020; 23: 100396. [Primary author]
  2. Sankar A, Dixon PR, Sivanathan L, Memtsoudis SM, de Almeida JR, Singh M. Cost-effectiveness of screening strategies for Obstructive Sleep Apnea among patients undergoing major surgery. Anesthesiology. 2020; 133: 787-800. [Primary author]
  3. Sankar A, Beattie WS, Tait G, Wijeysundera DN. Evaluation of Validity of the STOP-BANG questionnaire in major elective noncardiac surgery. Br J Anaesth. 2018; 122(2): 255-262. [Primary author]
  4. Sankar A, Behboudi M, Abdallah FW, Macfarlane A, Brull R. Transient neurologic symptoms following spinal anesthesia with isobaric mepivacaine: a decade of experience at Toronto Western Hospital. Anesthesia Research and Practice. 2018; 1901426: 1-5. [Primary author]
  5. Duncan D, Sankar A, Beattie WS, Wijeysundera DN. Alpha-2 adrenergic agonists for the prevention of surgical complications. Cochrane Database of Syst. Rev. 2018, Issue 3. Art. No.: CD004126. [Co-author]
  6. Mehta SP, Sankar A, Venkataramanan V, Davis AM. Cross-cultural validation of the ICOAP and physical function short forms of the HOOS and KOOS in a multi-country study of patients with hip and knee osteoarthritis. Osteoarthr Cartilage. 2016; 24(12): 2077-81. [Co-author]
  7. Sankar A, Beattie WS, Wijeysundera DN. How can we identify the high-risk patient? Curr Opin Crit Care. 2015; 21(4): 328-35. [Primary author]
  8. Sankar A, Johnson SR, Beattie WS, Tait G, Wijeysundera DN. Reliability of American Society of Anesthesiologists Physical Status scale in clinical practice. Br J Anaesth. 2014; 113(3): 424-32. [Primary author]