Elder-friendly Approaches to the Surgical Environment-using Biological samples to Identify & provide Optimized care (EASE-BIO)


Our research group has recently shown that using radiologic tools to assess severe muscle depletion (sarcopenia) is a strong predictor of older patients’ postoperative survival following emergency surgery. Sarcopenia has also been shown to be associated with loss of function, falls, fractures, increased need for rehabilitation and longer hospital stays in the older adults.

Evaluating patient-specific risk factors for postoperative complications in the emergency surgery setting is crucial for improving patient care and their outcomes. But to date, there has been no study evaluating the muscle biology in older adults following emergency surgery.

The objective of our research was to understand how muscle characteristics provide an insight to overall health outcomes. This study developed novel approaches to personalize patient care and match care to values by providing objective tools to physicians to empower and engage patients and caregivers with care planning and decision making, use state-of-the-art technology to create indicators to identify high-risk patients and use novel assessment tools to improve care across the continuum.

Rachel Khadaroo, MD, PhD, FRCSC is an Associate Professor, Intensivist, and surgeon-scientist at the University of Alberta. She is dedicated to the advancement of care for older patients. Her research activities span all four pillars of health inquiry including biomedical and clinical. She was the Principle Investigator for the Elder-friendly Approaches to the Surgical Environment (EASE) Study, a multi-site care initiative investigating the impact of elder-friendly practices on surgical patients. She has obtained almost $3 million in National funding for her work and has been invited as one of Canada’s experts to educate Members of Parliament about Frailty in Canada.

Her research interests include the identification of barriers to evidence-based practices on surgical wards and factors present at the patient-level or biological-level to help optimize perioperative or postoperative care to improve outcomes in surgical patients.

Amritpal Bhullar, PhD has completed his B.Pharmacy in India and then moved to London, United Kingdom for MSc in Pharmaceutical Sciences. After completing his master’s degree, he assisted in a randomized placebo-controlled trial investigating efficacy of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)-enriched formula in gestational diabetes mellitus. With his passion for clinical research and nutrition, Amritpal recently completed his PhD in Nutrition and Metabolism at University of Alberta. His thesis focused on characterization of muscle composition of cancer patients and its association with clinical outcomes. He reported high variability of fat distribution and fatty acid composition in the muscles of cancer patients.

Amritpal is a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Alberta and work with Dr. Rachel Khadaroo. He is leading the project involving evaluation of biological specimens to determine its association with clinical and functional outcomes in elderly patients undergoing surgery.

Ahmed Negm, MD, PhD is a trained orthopedic surgeon with a passion for clinical research and knowledge translation. Dr. Negm recently completed his Ph.D. in Rehabilitation Science at McMaster University and led several research initiatives to improve functional performance of frail older adults and their caregivers. He led the development and coordination of the FitJoints multi-site randomized control trial, a trial examining the feasibility and efficacy of a multi-modal frailty interventions tailored to older adults undergoing joint replacement.

In recognition of academic excellence and leadership, Dr. Negm has received over 30 academic awards including Alberta Innovates Post-doctoral fellowships, Osteoporosis Canada Ph.D. Studentship Research Award, Canadian Frailty Network Interdisciplinary Fellowship, and Ontario Graduate Scholarship.

Dr. Negm is a postdoctoral fellow at the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Alberta. He is focusing on optimizing health outcome of older Canadians with frailty and sarcopenia through improving rehabilitation interventions. Currently, he is a member of the Osteoporosis Canada Guidelines Update Committee as well as Alberta Bone & Joint Health Institute Fragility and Stability committee.

Dr. Negm is working on a systematic review and network meta-analysis of sarcopenia interventions. He also aims to examine the relationship between body composition and post-operative physical performance in people undergoing emergency surgery.