Brian L Erstad

Brian L Erstad

Department Head, Pharmacy Practice-Science
Professor, Pharmaceutical Sciences
Member of the Graduate Faculty
Professor, BIO5 Institute
Primary Department
(520) 626-4289

Work Summary

Brian Erstad’s research interests pertain to critical care medicine with an emphasis on patient safety and related outcomes research.

Research Interest

Brian L. Erstad, PharmD, FCCM, is currently a tenured professor and head of the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science. He is also a center investigator for the Center for Health Outcomes and PharmacoEconomics Research and a co-director for the Arizona Clinical and Translational Research Graduate Certificate Program. His clinical responsibilities are performed at Banner-University Medical Center Tucson.Dr. Erstad’s research interests pertain to critical care medicine with an emphasis on patient safety and related outcomes research. He has authored more than 150 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters.Dr. Erstad has served on the board of directors of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists and on numerous committees and task forces for other organizations including AHRQ, USP, Society of Critical Care Medicine and the American College of Chest Physicians. He is currently an ad hoc member of the FDA’s Drug Safety and Risk Management Advisory Committee, a steering committee member of the United States Critical Illness and Injury Trials (USCIIT) Group, and treasurer of the American College of Clinical Pharmacy.


O'Connell, H., & Erstad, B. L. (1995). Comparison of predicted and measured energy expenditure in mechanically ventilated obese patients. Journal of Pharmacy Technology, 11(2), 47-49.


Objective: To test the appropriateness of using actual body weight (ABW), ideal body weight (IBW), or an adjusted weight for predicting caloric requirements in moderately obese, mechanically ventilated patients receiving parenteral or enteral nutrition. Design: Prospective, nonrandomized pilot study involving seven patients. Setting: University medical center. Main Outcome Measures: Predicted caloric requirements based on ABW, IBW, or an adjusted weight were compared with measured requirements by indirect calorimetry after parenteral nutrition or tube feedings were at goal rate for 24-72 hours. Results: Mean differences between predicted and measured energy requirements for ABW, IBW, and adjusted weight were 821 ± 556 (p

Balling, L. M., Erstad, B. L., & Weibel, K. J. (2015). Impact of a Transition-of-Care Pharmacist During Hospital Discharge. J Am Pharm Assoc, 55, 443-448.
Barletta, J. F., Erstad, B. L., Loew, M., & Keim, S. M. (2000). A prospective study of pain control in the emergency department. American Journal of Therapeutics, 7(4), 251-255.

PMID: 11486159;Abstract:

The most common complaint in the emergency department is pain. The management of acute pain, however, has not been well studied. This prospective study was designed to assess pain intensity and relief along with satisfaction in the emergency department. Adult patients with a primary complaint of acute pain were asked to complete a two-part questionnaire administered by a research assistant. The first part was completed on arrival and the second part on discharge from the emergency department. The respondents were not permitted to see the first part of the questionnaire while completing the second. The questionnaire used an unmarked, horizontal 10-cm visual analog scale along with short answer questions to measure pain, relief, and satisfaction. Choice of drug therapy was decided by the physician according to usual treatment methods. Fifty-seven people presented with the chief complaint of pain. Of those, 30 (53%) were treated with medications. The mean level of pain on admission for treated patients was 6.64 compared with a mean level of pain on discharge of 4.02 (P = .0001). Untreated patients had a mean admission visual analog scale score of 4.19. Compared with treated patients, this difference was statistically significant (P = .001). A mean visual analog scale score of 5.43, representing the mean amount of pain relief, was reported among treated patients. Treated patients also reported a visual analog scale score of 6.46 in overall satisfaction with pain management. The results of this study indicate that there is a significant and clinical difference in levels of pain and satisfaction between admission and discharge in these patients in the emergency department. © 2000 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.

Erstad, B. L., Patanwala, A. E., & Theodorou, A. A. (2012). Comparison of methods for the detection of medication safety events in the critically ill. Current Drug Safety, 7(3), 238-246.

PMID: 22950987;Abstract:

Purpose: To categorize and synthesize medication safety event detection methods in the critically ill in order to provide clinicians and administrators with approaches to event detection that are intended to expand and complement traditional voluntary reporting systems. Methods: A literature search of OvidMEDLINE was performed to identify articles related to medication safety involving critically ill patients in the intensive care unit setting. The inclusion of articles was restricted to comparative studies. The bibliographies of all retrieved articles were reviewed to obtain additional articles of relevance. The various event detection methods were compared by: evidence supporting their use; number, type and severity of events detected; phase of the medication use process in which events were detected; and ease and cost of implementation. Major limitations of each method were also collated. Results: There are a number of methods that can be used to identify medication safety events in the critically ill. These can broadly be categorized as: 1) voluntary reporting, 2) record review, 3) rules/triggers and 4) direct observation and 5) interviews/surveys. Relatively few studies have directly compared these assessment methods in the ICU setting, although the limitations of the traditional voluntary reporting system as the sole method of event detection are well established. Although not truly dichotomous, these methods can be broken down into more proactive and reactive approaches. Rules/triggers and direct observation of the medication use process in the ICU are examples of proactive approaches to event detection, while the traditional unsolicited voluntary reporting is typically reactive. However, each of the event detection methods has advantages and disadvantages, so the methods should not be considered mutually exclusive with respect to obtaining information about medication safety. Conclusions: Given the limitations of traditional voluntary reporting systems, a multimodal approach used to identify medication safety events is most likely to capture the largest number and type of events. We would advise not trying to implement additional approaches beyond voluntary reporting systems all at once. This would be difficult and costly. Rather, we suggest a systematic implementation of additional event detection approaches that takes into account hospitalspecific considerations. © 2012 Bentham Science Publishers.

Erstad, B. L. (1996). Viral infectivity of albumin and plasma protein fraction. Pharmacotherapy, 16(6 I), 996-1001.

PMID: 8947970;Abstract:

Original research, reviews, anti case reports discussing viral infectivity of blood- and plasma-derived products were reviewed to determine the potential viral infectivity of human serum albumin (HSA) and plasma protein fraction (PPF). Data concerning vital infectivity, vital screening anti inactivation procedures, and viral outbreaks associated with blood and plasma products were extracted and evaluated for pertinence to HSA and PPF. The starting material used for fractionation, the manufacturing process, postmanufacturing handling, and immunocompetence of HSA or PPF recipients were assessed to determine risk of symptomatic viral disease after transfusion. Both HSA and PPF are manufactured with pasteurization procedures that have led to an excellent viral safety record based on 50 years of clinical use. One outbreak of hepatitis B was associated with PPF as a result of an unreliable manufacturing process that has been corrected. The pasteurization process is effective in eradicating known viral pathogens when good manufacturing practices are followed. Continued surveillance of such products is warranted for viruses not included in routine screening procedures and for those that are resistant to current inactivation methods.