Dr. Gebhard Wagener

Professor of Anesthesiology at CUMC

Research Description

Our clinical research focuses on biomarkers and early disease detection. The current research project includes an NIH funded study of SPECT-CT imaging to detect lung injury in patients with COPD and with ventilator-associated lung injury (in collaboration with Dr. D’Armiento and Dr. Johnson (NHLBI 2016-19: 1R01HL131960-01).

Other areas of biomarker research include markers for renal injury such as Neutrophil Gelatinase-associated Lipocalin (NGAL), a novel and sensitive marker for renal injury. We previously studied NGAL in patients undergoing cardiac, general and liver transplant surgery. A large study of cardiac surgical patients found that urinary NGAL had intermediate predictive power. Furthermore, recent studies found that urinary NGAL was actually elevated only in patients who developed sustained increases of serum creatinine after surgery consistent with intrinsic renal injury but not in those patients with only transient increases; i.e. prerenal azotemia. An ongoing study will assess the utility of NGAL to detect acute kidney injury in the Medical ICU.

Another focus of our research involves liver function and hepatic blood flow including the effect of vasopressin and other medications on liver blood flow during liver transplantation. We previously demonstrated that patients with liver diseases exhibit an endogenous vasopressin deficiency similar to what has been described in septic shock. Administration of vasopressin in these patients with lead to an increase of blood pressure due to splanchnic vasoconstriction which is potentially beneficial for patients with cirrhosis and undergoing liver transplantation. Another area of interest for us includes Indocyanine green (ICG) clearance, a sensitive method to clinically measure liver function and we are currently studying ICG clearance in patients undergoing left ventricular assist device implantation and in cadaveric liver transplant donors.

Further research projects include coagulation studies and detection of hypercoaguability using rotational thrombelastometry (ROTEM) and clinical outcome studies in liver transplantation and cardiac surgery.

For more information, please contact Dr. Wagener at gw72@cumc.columbia.edu.


  • Tara Richter-Smith

  • Erin Hittesdorf

Select Publications

You can view a complete list of Dr. Wagener's publications here.