Clinical Focus

  • Pediatric CriticalCare Medicine
  • Pediatrics
  • Solid Organ Transplantation
  • Sedation

Academic Appointments

Professional Education

  • Fellowship: Stanford University Pain Management Fellowship (2012) CA
  • Internship: University of Brooklyn at Long Island College Hospital (2007) NY
  • Medical Education: University of Medicine and Pharmacy Carol Davila (2003) Romania
  • Board Certification: American Board of Pediatrics, Pediatric Critical Care Medicine (2012)
  • Board Certification, American Board of Pediatrics, Pediatric Critical Care Medicine (2012)
  • Board Certification: American Board of Pediatrics, Pediatrics (2009)
  • Residency: University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine (2009) IL

Research & Scholarship

Current Research and Scholarly Interests

I do have multiple interests in the ICU: from quality improvement to research, from transplant to palliative care. However, most of my projects are related to transplant medicine and quality improvement. My initial resident QI project changed the way kidney transplant recipients are managed in the immediate postoperative period at University of Illinois at Chicago. My fellowship research looked at pharmacokinetics after liver transplant and my preliminary results are very promising. As part of my scholarly activities for the last 6 months I am conducting a research study, looking at ways to better monitor and manage the pediatric kidney transplant in the ICU by assessing the hemodynamics in the first 48 hours post transplant.
As part of my QI involvement, I am currently mentoring some of the PCCM fellows in longitudinal quality improvement projects such as: sedation in recipients of liver transplantation, ICU outcomes for children receiving bone marrow transplantation.


All Publications

  • The impact of intraoperative thromboelastography and blood product utilization during pediatric liver transplantation in a single center Ruiz, R., Lee, H., Mendoza, J., Burgis, J. C., Damian, M., Esquivel, C. O., Jeng, M. WILEY. 2019
  • Implementation of a nurse led transplant specialty care team in a pediatric intensive care unit improves patient safety Blair, L., Dykes, N., Kent, K., Hamlin, A., Kelley, T., Chen, D., Shetty, R., Damian, M. WILEY. 2019
  • Pharmacokinetics of Dexmedetomidine in Infants and Children After Orthotopic Liver Transplantation. Anesthesia and analgesia Damian, M. A., Hammer, G. B., Elkomy, M. H., Frymoyer, A., Drover, D. R., Su, F. 2018


    BACKGROUND: Dexmedetomidine (DEX) is a sedative and analgesic medication that is frequently used postoperatively in children after liver transplantation. Hepatic dysfunction, including alterations in drug clearance, is common immediately after liver transplantation. However, the pharmacokinetics (PK) of DEX in this population is unknown. The objective of this study was to determine the PK profile of DEX in children after liver transplantation.METHODS: This was a single-center, open-label PK study of DEX administered as an intravenous loading dose of 0.5 mug/kg followed by a continuous infusion of 0.5 mug/kg/h. Twenty subjects, 1 month to 18 years of age, who were admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit after liver transplantation were enrolled. Whole blood was collected and analyzed for DEX concentration using a dried blood spot method. Nonlinear mixed-effects modeling was used to characterize the population PK of DEX.RESULTS: DEX PK was best described by a 2-compartment model with first-order elimination. A typical child after liver transplantation with an international normalized ratio (INR) of 1.8 was found to have a whole blood DEX clearance of 52 L/h (95% confidence interval [CI], 31-73 L/h). In addition, intercompartmental clearance was 246 L/h (95% CI, 139-391 L/h), central volume of distribution was 186 L/70 kg (95% CI, 140-301 L/70 kg), and peripheral volume of distribution was 203 L (95% CI, 123-338 L). Interindividual variability ranged from 11% to 111% for all parameters. Clearance was not found to be associated with weight but was found to be inversely proportional to INR. An increase in INR to 3.2 resulted in a 50% decrease in DEX clearance. Weight was linearly correlated with central volume of distribution. All other covariates, including age, ischemic time, total bilirubin, and alanine aminotransferase, were not found to be significant predictors of DEX disposition.CONCLUSIONS: Children who received DEX after liver transplantation have large variability in clearance, which was not found to be associated with weight but is influenced by underlying liver function, as reflected by INR. In this population, titration of DEX dosing to clinical effect may be important because weight-based dosing is poorly associated with blood concentrations. More attention to quality of DEX sedation may be warranted when INR values are changing.

    View details for PubMedID 30198929

  • Triheptanoin: A Rescue Therapy for Cardiogenic Shock in Carnitine-acylcarnitine Translocase Deficiency. JIMD reports Mahapatra, S., Ananth, A., Baugh, N., Damian, M., Enns, G. M. 2018; 39: 19–23


    Carnitine-acylcarnitine translocase (CACT) deficiency is a rare long-chain fatty acid oxidation disorder (LC-FAOD) with high mortality due to cardiomyopathy or lethal arrhythmia. Triheptanoin (UX007), an investigational drug composed of synthetic medium odd-chain triglycerides, is a novel therapy in development for LC-FAOD patients. However, cases of its safe and efficacious use to reverse severe heart failure in CACT deficiency are limited. Here, we present a detailed report of an infant with CACT deficiency admitted in metabolic crisis that progressed into severe cardiogenic shock who was successfully treated by triheptanoin. The child was managed, thereafter, on triheptanoin until her death at 3 years of age from a cardiopulmonary arrest in the setting of acute respiratory illness superimposed on chronic hypercarbic respiratory failure.

    View details for PubMedID 28689308

  • Near-Fatal Gastrointestinal Hemorrhage in a Child with Medulloblastoma on High Dose Dexamethasone. Cureus Yecies, D. n., Tawfik, D. n., Damman, J. n., Thorson, C. n., Hong, D. S., Grant, G. A., Bensen, R. n., Damian, M. n. 2017; 9 (7): e1442


    A four-year-old female was admitted to a university-based children's hospital with a newly-diagnosed posterior fossa tumor. She was started on famotidine and high-dose dexamethasone and underwent gross total resection of a medulloblastoma. She was continued on dexamethasone and famotidine. She exhibited postoperative posterior fossa syndrome and was started on enteral feeds via the nasoduodenal tube. She had small gastrointestinal bleeds on postoperative days eight, 11, and 18, and was found to have a well-circumscribed posterior duodenal ulcer. On postoperative day 19, she suffered a massive life-threatening gastrointestinal bleed requiring aggressive resuscitation with blood products. She required an emergent laparotomy due to ongoing blood loss and she was found to have posterior duodenal wall erosion into her gastroduodenal artery. She recovered and subsequently began delayed chemotherapy. This case demonstrates a rare and life-threatening complication of high-dose dexamethasone therapy in the setting of posterior fossa pathology despite stress ulcer prophylaxis. We present a historical perspective with the review of the association between duodenal and intracranial pathology and the usage of high-dose dexamethasone in such cases.

    View details for PubMedID 28924528

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