Donald "Hal" Shaffner, MD, Associate Professor, Pediatric Anesthesia; Director of Pediatric Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine Division

Associate Professor of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine and Pediatrics
Director of Pediatric Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine Division

Hal Shaffner has been on faculty at Johns Hopkins since 1990. He works both as a general pediatric anesthesiologist in the operating room and as an attending physician in the PICU. As Director of the Pediatric Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine division, he oversees the PICU (Ivor Berkowitz, medical director), the pediatric operating room (Rahul Koka, medical director), Remote Anesthesia (Joanne Shay, medical director), the Pediatric Pain Service (Sabine Kost-Byerly, medical director), the Pediatric Transport Service (Corina Noje, medical director), and ECMO (Mela Bembea, medical director). The division includes 42 faculty members, 11 nurse practitioners, two hospitalists, and 24 fellows. Dr. Shaffner finds it very rewarding to teach residents, fellows, and young faculty and can’t imagine a more interesting place to work.

In addition to his many clinical duties, Dr. Shaffner works one day a week in a basic science laboratory on an NIH-sponsored project to improve outcomes from cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). He is trying to improve the way that CPR is performed by using physiologic measures as feedback. At present, CPR is standardized by compression depth and rate. However, Dr. Shaffner and his team think that CPR delivery should be individualized to the patient. The performance measure that they are currently studying is end-tidal carbon dioxide (ETCO2), an indicator of how much blood traverses the lungs. In laboratory models, they are comparing CPR performed using ETCO2 as a guide to CPR performed using standard American Heart Association guidelines. They are hopeful that the feedback-driven CPR will be more effective and produce better outcomes. If the results are positive, Dr. Shaffner anticipates that the technique could be used clinically within 2 years. Other parameters that might be useful for determining CPR effectiveness include diastolic blood pressure and near-infrared spectroscopy. However, these are available only in intensive care units, whereas ETCO2 measurement is universally available. In the future, Dr. Shaffner would like to compare CPR outcomes guided by each of these three techniques.

Dr. Shaffner is an editor of the 5th edition of Rogers’ Textbook of Pediatric Intensive Care, due out in 2015, and is working on the Rogers’ Handbook of Pediatric Intensive Care, which is expected to be published in 2016. Outside of work, he enjoys building furniture, gardening, running, and biking.

Dr. Shaffner attended the University of Virginia for medical school (1978-1982) and then did a residency in pediatrics at Case Western Reserve University (1982-1985). He was pediatric chief resident there from 1985 to 1986. After that, he came to Johns Hopkins, where he completed an anesthesiology residency, a PICU fellowship, and a pediatric anesthesiology fellowship between 1986 and 1990.