After completing her fellowship training in Neurosciences Critical Care, Dr. Lucia Rivera Lara joined the faculty of Johns Hopkins in October of 2014. She currently works as an attending physician at the Johns Hopkins Bayview Hospital in the neurocritical care unit and Neurology inpatient and consult service. There she sees patients with all types of intracranial injury, including those with acute traumatic brain injury, intracerebral hemorrhage, ischemic stroke, encephalopathy, and status epilepticus, as well as less common disorders such as encephalitis, Guillain-Barré syndrome, and myasthenia gravis. She collaborates with a multidisciplinary team of doctors from Anesthesiology/Critical Care Medicine, Neurology, and Neurosurgery, as well as nurses and pharmacists, to try to achieve the best care possible for her patients. She feels most satisfied when she is able to help a patient recover from a coma and go on to have meaningful interaction with his or her family members.
Dr. Rivera Lara received a two-year Research award from the American Academy of Neurology/American Brain Foundation. The award supports ongoing research on a project called “Optimizing Cerebral Perfusion in Comatose Patients with Acute Neurological Illness.” Currently, all patients are treated to maintain blood pressure at a single target goal. However, the optimum blood pressure of an individual patient may be higher or lower than that goal. This project is an observational study to investigate whether noninvasive cerebral autoregulation monitoring of comatose patients with near-infrared spectroscopy can be used to identify the blood pressure that results in the best cerebral blood flow. Individualizing a patient’s blood pressure should prevent blood flow in the brain from becoming too high (hyperperfusion) or too low (hypoperfusion), both of which can cause injury. Dr. Rivera Lara believes that preventing hyper- or hypoperfusion of the brain in the acute phase after injury will improve long-term neurologic outcomes.
Dr. Rivera Lara graduated medical school cum laude from the University of San Luis Potosi, Mexico, in 2006. She did her residency in Neurology at the University of Massachusetts from 2009 through 2012 and then completed a fellowship in Neurosciences Critical Care at Johns Hopkins in 2014. She expects to earn her Master’s in Public Health in 2017 at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.