Claudia Benkwitz, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology
Division of Pediatric Cardiac Anesthesiology
Monroe Carell Jr. Childrens Hospital
Vanderbilt University
2200 Childrens Way, Suite 3116
Nashville, TN 37232, USA


Dr. Benkwitz obtained her Medical Degree at the University of Wuerzburg, Germany, followed by a PhD at the Department of Cardiology and a Residency for Anesthesiology, both at the University of Wuerzburg. She then obtained a Research Grant and spent several years as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow and Research Scientist at the Department of Anesthesiology at the University of Wisconsin, investigating interactions of general anesthetics with GABAA receptors employing various molecular biological and electrophysiological methods.
Dr. Benkwitz completed her Anesthesiology training in the US at Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, followed by Fellowships in Pediatric Anesthesia and Pediatric Cardiac Anesthesia at Lucile Packard Childrens Hospital at Stanford University, where she stayed on as Faculty, until she was recruited to Vanderbilt University. There, she serves on the Faculty as Assistant Professor for Pediatric Anesthesiology, and is primarily involved in Pediatric Cardiac Anesthesia. She teaches Medical Students, Residents, and Fellows and is currently involved in Clinical Research, serving as PI or Co-PI. Dr. Benkwitz has co-authored several book chapters in major textbooks.

Research Interest

Her research interests include: Neurosciences (clinical and basic), Neurocognitive outcome of pediatric patients undergoing cardiac surgery, Neuromonitoring and Effects of CPB on the inflammatory response and coagulation.

Scientific Activities

She has obtained several research awards.


1. Benkwitz C, Watkins SC, Donahue BS. Assessing the risks of non-cardiac surgery for children with congenital heart disease. JACC. 2015.
2. Benkwitz C, Hammer GB. Thrombotic endotracheal tube occlusion after administration of recombinant Factor VII. J Cardiothorac Vasc Anesth. 2013; 27(6): 1330-1333. doi:10.1053/j.jvca.2012.07.003
3. Brookman JC, Sair HI, Benkwitz C, Gulur P. Images in Anesthesiology: Wandering Epidural Catheter. Anesthesiology. 2010; 113: 1198.
4. Hentschke H, Benkwitz C, Banks MI, Perkins MG, Homanics GE, Pearce RA. Altered GABAA,slow inhibition and network oscillations in mice lacking the GABAA receptor β3 subunit. J Neurophysiol. 2009; 102: 3643-3655. doi:10.1152/jn.00651.2009
5. Benkwitz C, Alston TA. Enhanced exercise capacity in mice with severe heart failure treated with an allosteric effector of hemoglobin, myo-inositol trispyrophosphate. Soc Cardiovasc Anesth Newsletter. 2009; 8(2).
6. Benkwitz C, Liao M, Sonner JM, Eger EI II, Pearce RA. Determination of the EC50 amnesic concentration of etomidate and its diffusion profile in brain tissue: Implications for In Vitro studies. Anesthesiology. 2007; 106: 114-123.
7. Benkwitz C, Banks MI, Pearce RA. Influence of GABAA receptor γ2 splice variants on receptor kinetics and isoflurane modulation. Anesthesiology. 2004; 101: 924-936.
8. Benkwitz C, Figler H, Garrison JC, Durieux ME, Hollmann MW. Lidocaine enhances Gαi protein function. Anesthesiology. 2003; 99: 1093-1101.
9. Boileau AJ, Li T, Benkwitz C, Czajkowski C, Pearce RA. Effects of γ2S subunit incorporation on GABAA receptor macroscopic kinetics. Neuropharmacology. 2003; 44: 1003-1012. doi: 10.1016/S0028-3908(03)00114-X
10. Benkwitz C, Leist M, Tas P, Kobelt F, Roewer N. Thiopentone, propofol and diazepam exert different effects on spontaneous Ca2+-oscillations in hippocampal neurons. Progress in Anesthetic Mechanism. 2000; 6: 442-447.
11. Leist M, Benkwitz C, Tas P, Roewer N. Inhibition of the capacitative calcium of primary human endothelial cells by halothane. Progress in Anesthetic Mechanism. 2000; 6: 470-475.
12. Benkwitz C, Tas P, Kobelt F, Roewer N. Anesthetics and benzodiazepines differentially affect the GABAA receptor in hippocampal neuronal networks. Anästhesiologie & Intensivmedizin (Anesthesiology& Intensive Care Medicine. 2000; 41: 822-823.
13. Benkwitz C, Tas P, Kobelt F, Roewer N. Volatile anesthetics inhibit Ca2+-oscillations in rat hippocampal neurons in a concentration dependent manner. Anästhesiologie & Intensivmedizin (Anesthesiology& Intensive Care Medicine. 1999; 12(40): 856-858.
14. Benkwitz C, Oberdorf-Maass S, Neyses L. Combined SSCP and Heteroduplex-Analysis of the human plasma membrane Ca2+-ATPase isoform 1 in patients with essential hypertension. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 1999; 261: 515-520. doi:10.1006/bbrc.1999.1064
15. Hammes A, Oberdorf-Maas S, Rother T, et al. Overexpression of the sarcolemmal calcium pump in the myocardium of transgenic rats. Circ Res. 1998; 83: 877-888. doi:10.1161/01.RES.83.9.877
16. Benkwitz C, Kubisch C, Kraft K, Neyses L. Investigation of the Met-267 Arg exchange in isoform 1 of the human plasma membrane calcium pump in patients with essential hypertension by the amplification-created restriction sites technique. J Mol Med. 1997; 75: 62-66.
17. Felbor U, Benkwitz C, Klein ML, Greenberg J, Gregory CY, Weber BHF. Sorsbys fundus dystrophy: Reevaluation of variable expressivity in patients carrying a TIMP3 founder mutation. Arch Ophthalmol. 1997; 115: 1569-1571. doi:10.1001/archopht.1997.01100160739011


1. Forman SA, Benkwitz C. Pharmacology of Inhalational Anesthetics. In: D. Longnecker M, Newman S, Mackey W, Sandberg, W, Zapol, eds. Anesthesiology. 3rd Edition. MacGraw-Hill Education
2. Benkwitz C, Kamra K. Out-of-Operating Room Procedures-Pediatric: Pediatric cardiac catheterization and electrophysiology-Anesthetic Considerations. In: Jaffe RA, Schmiesing C, Golianu B, eds. Anesthesiologists Manual of Surgical Procedures. Chapter 13.2, 5th ed. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Philadelphia, 2014.
3. Benkwitz C, Kamra K, Ramamoorthy C. Pediatric Cardiovascular Surgery-Anesthetic Considerations. In: Jaffe RA, Schmiesing C, Golianu B, eds. Anesthesiologists Manual of Surgical Procedures. Chapter 12.4, 5th ed. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Philadelphia, 2014.
4. Forman SA, Benkwitz C. Pharmacology of Inhalational Anesthetics. In: Longnecker DE, Brown DL, Newman MF, Zapol WM, eds. Anesthesiology. Chapter 38, 2nd Edition. MacGraw Hill Professional, 2012.
5. Benkwitz C, Solt K. Intravenous and Inhalation Anesthetics, in Clinical Anesthesia Procedures of the Massachusetts General Hospital. In: Dunn PF, Alston TA, Baker KH, Davison JK, Kwo J, Rossow CE, eds. Chapter 11, 8th ed. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Philadelphia, 2010.
6. Benkwitz C, Roewer N, Antkowiak B. Anesthetic action on neuronal network activity in hippocampus: Electrophysiology and Ca-Imaging. In: Urban BW, Barann M, eds. Molecular and Basic Mechanisms of Anesthesia. Pabst Science Publishers, Lengerich, 2002: 355-362.