BiographyMy interests include high-altitude physiology and sickle cell anemia, both examples of complex physiology and pathophysiology related to oxygen delivery. I am currently examining mortality patterns at extreme altitude amongst Himalayan mountaineers as a model of the effects of hypoxemia on an otherwise healthy population. My other work on the anesthetic management of sickle cell anemia challenged the traditional model of the disease as a consequence of red cell sickling, and suggested rather that the disease is a problem of vascular damage and dysfunction. I am involved in Humanitarian and Disaster Relief through the MGH Center for Global Health.
1. Firth PG et al. Anaesthesia and high altitude: a history. Anaesthesia 2008; 63 (6): 662-70
Firth PG et al. Mortality on Mount Everest 1921-2006: a descriptive study. Br Med J 2008;337:a2654
Firth PG, Head CA. Sickle cell disease and anesthesia. Anesthesiology 2004; 101(3): 766-85
Firth PG. Anaesthesia for peculiar cells - a century of sickle cell disease. Br J Anaesth 2005; 95(3): 287-99
Firth PG. Anesthesia and hemoglobinopathies. Anesthesiol Clin 2009 Jun;27(2):321-36
Firth PG. Disaster-relief anesthesia - Notes on coming home. N Eng J Med 2010: March24
Fidkowski CW, Zheng H, Firth PG. Anesthetic considerations of tracheobronchial foreign bodies in children. Anesth Analg 2010:111(4):1016-25
Firth PG. Pulmonary complications of sickle cell disease. N Eng J Med 2009;360(10):1044
Firth PG. Standards of care - In sickness and in health and in emergencies. N Eng J Med 2010:363 (14): 1379-80.
Firth PG et al. Transfusion Related Acute Lung Injury or Acute Chest Syndrome of Sickle Cell Disease? Can J Anesth 2003; 50(9): 895-9
Dr. Paul Firth, a physician in the Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine, participated in the Haiti relief effort on the hospital ship USNS Comfort as part of Project HOPE. For more information, see the DACCPM website: http://www2.massgeneral.org/anesthesia/index.aspx?page=news_media&subpage=032210_haiti.
THANKS TO a new collaborative workforce development program between the Partners Human Resources and Community Health departments, the Jewish Vocational Service (JVS), and The Fish Family Foundation, several MGH staff can now officially call the United States “home.”
IN THE UNITED STATES and other developed nations, caregivers can access to the latest technologies and techniques, allowing them to improve patient outcomes and comfort. Unfortunately, clinicians in developing countries often lack these critical resources.
In the first detailed analysis of deaths during expeditions to the summit of Mt. Everest, a research team led by MGH investigators has conducted found that most deaths occur during descents from the summit in the so-called “death zone” above 8,000 meters and identified factors associated with a greater risk of death.
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