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Dr. Rakesh C. Arora

Dr. Rakesh C. Arora

Principal Investigator
Patient Centered Inclusive Research – Enhancing the Perioperative Experience (ALIVE to THRIVE),  Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences

Department of Surgery, Anaesthesia & Physiology, University of Manitoba

Section Head and Lead of Cardiac Surgery, Winnipeg Regional Health Authority – Cardiac Sciences Program

Research Focus

Dr. Arora’s research has transitioned from a basic science focus starting in 2004 to a clinical research focus starting in 2012. Outcomes after a patient’s Cardiac Surgery are dependent on many factors before, during and after their surgery. Much of our recent research focuses on the perioperative process and what we can do to improve patient outcomes.

Our clinical and research program looks to develop evidence-based interdisciplinary perioperative care pathways and surgical quality improvement initiatives. Our research program seeks to develop improvements in the management of postoperative delirium and frailty via research seeking to optimize nutrition, physical activity, education, and support during the period prior (a.k.a. “prehabilitation”), during and after cardiac surgery as patients transition back to the community. The overarching goals of our program are to develop and incorporate sustainable innovative patient-centred care strategies into daily practice to provide the best opportunity to enhance recovery and improve perioperative outcomes for our patient population.

Formally known as “Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS)” our clinical and research program looks to incorporate these strategies into daily practice to provide the best opportunity to improve post-operative outcomes for our patient population. Specifically, ERAS is an evidence-based and multidisciplinary perioperative care pathway and a surgical quality improvement initiative, shown to promote patient mobilization, reduce complication rates, decrease hospital length of stay and reduce health care costs. A series of 22 guidelines have been developed to guide change and improvement. A specific area of interest within the ERAS guidelines for our research program is the impact of “Prehabilitation”. Our research looks at nutrition, physical activity, education, and support during the period prior to cardiac surgery and the impact this will have on patient recovery.

Please view the PREZI presentation link to walk you through Dr. Arora’s Career and accomplishments:

About Rakesh Arora

Dr. Arora was born in London, Ontario and obtained a Baccalaureate of Arts degree from the University of Western Ontario. From there, he next achieved his Medical Doctorate from the University of Toronto in 1996 before moving to Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia to undergo his Cardiac Surgery Residency. During his time in his residency in Dalhousie, he completed a Doctorate of Philosophy in the Department of Anatomy/Neurobiology in the field of neurocardiology. After completing two further years of training at the University of Calgary, in Calgary, Alberta, Dr. Arora became the first Cardiac Surgeon in Canada to also complete a fellowship in Critical Care Medicine in 2006.

In 2009, Dr. Arora pioneered a national society, The Canadian Cardiovascular Critical Care (CANCARE) Society ( that aims to advance the care of critically ill cardiovascular patients using interdisciplinary expertise in a cooperative model. Furthermore, in 2012 Dr. Arora also co-founded and is the current chair for the CANCARE investigators group (CSIG) representing cardiovascular researchers in Canada. Recently, in 2019 Dr. Arora was appointed Chair – Workforce on Critical Care for the Society of Thoracic Surgeons and is the President-Elect for the Canadian Society of Cardiac Surgeons.

Current Clinical Role

Dr. Arora joined the Cardiac Sciences Program and the Section of Critical Care Medicine as an Academic Clinician Scientist in 2006 where he devoted a large proportion of time towards translational and clinical research. He was appointed the Director of Research for the Section of Cardiac Surgery in 2007 and has received the Rudy Falk Clinician Scientist Award and the F.W. DuVal Clinical Research Professorship from the University of Manitoba in 2011.

Academic Responsibilities

Dr. Arora was promoted to full Professor in 2016 to the Department of Surgery, Anesthesia & Perioperative Medicine, Physiology & Pathophysiology at the University of Manitoba where he continues to contribute to the education of future physicians. Moreover, Dr. Arora has provided years of mentorship to well over 25 students throughout their academic and professional careers. In 2017 Dr. Arora was appointed to the position of Section Head and Regional Lead for Cardiac Surgery with the WRHA’s Cardiac Sciences Program where he continues to provide leadership, support, and direction to the only Cardiac Surgery facility in Manitoba.

Current Research Initiatives

Dr. Arora’s research interests have transitioned from basic science looking at heart failure to his more current research directed at developing expertise in perioperative care and enhancing the recovery of vulnerable, older adult patients with cardiovascular disease. His current and ongoing investigations examine enhance recovery protocols (ERPs), optimal nutrition, prehabilitation, delirium and frailty in older adults undergoing cardiac surgery. Recently, we have shifted our planning strategies for our research program from scientist/academic based to patient-centred initiated via patient engagement activities. Our focus is on the improvement of postoperative outcomes with the role of the patient becoming vital in developing processes and tools to enhance these areas. Our goal is to transition our patients from ALIVE to THRIVE within their communities to enhance long-term outcomes.

Furthering Peer-Reviewed Research

Over the last decade, Dr. Arora has also contributed his time to peer reviewer responsibilities for many scientific journals such as the Canadian Journal of Cardiology, Annals of Thoracic Surgery, Circulation and the Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery to name a few. In fact, Dr. Arora has provided reviewer duties to over 20 peer-reviewed journals since 2007. In 2017, Dr. Arora was awarded the Top Performance Award of the Editorial Board for the Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery furthering his commitment to research during his career to date.

Based on Dr. Arora’s past clinical and research contributions, he has been invited to speak on over 70 occasions at several international critical care and cardiac surgery societies, academic and clinical conferences, and has been a guest speaker at other health care institutions around the world. In 2014 he was elected as the President of the American Delirium Society. In 2017 Dr. Arora contributes to the creation of the Enhanced Recovery after Cardiac Surgery Society (ERAS-CS ®) furthering the improvement of perioperative care for Cardiac Surgery patients. Their goal is the development of consensus in many areas of treatment improving outcomes for our patients through active research.

For more information contact:

Dr. Rakesh C. Arora
I.H. Asper Institute, St. Boniface Hospital
CR3015 – 369 Taché Avenue
Winnipeg, MB R2H 2A6
Phone: 204-258-1078
Fax: 204-231-4624

Lab Address:
Room 3038
St. Boniface Hospital Albrechtsen Research Centre
351 Taché Avenue
Winnipeg, MB R2H 2A6
Lab Phone (204) 235-3520

Selected Publications

  1. Engelman DT, Lother S, George I, Ailawadi G, Atluri P, Grant MC, Haft JW, Hassan A,Legare JF,Whitman G,AroraRC;Society of Thoracic Surgeons COVID-19 Task Force andWorkforce for AdultCardiac and Vascular Surgery. Rampingup Delivery of Cardiac SurgeryDuring the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Guidance Statement from The Society of ThoracicSurgeons COVID-19 Task Force.Ann Thorac Surg. 2020 May11
  2. Arora RC, Chatterjee S, Shake JG, Hirose H, EngelmanDT, Rabin J, Firstenberg M,Moosdorf RGH, Geller CM,Hiebert B, Whitman GJ; Society of Thoracic Surgery Workforcefor Critical Care (STS WFCC).Survey of Contemporary Cardiac Surgery ICU Models in theUnited States.Ann Thorac Surg. 2019 Aug 14
  3. Kredentser MS, Blouw M, Marten N,Sareen J, Bienvenu OJ, RyuJ, Beatie BE, Logsetty S,Graff LA, Eggertson S, Sweatman S, Debroni B, Cianflone N,Arora RC,Zarychanski R,Olafson K. Preventing Posttraumatic Stress in ICU Survivors: A Single-Center PilotRandomized Controlled Trial of ICU Diaries and Psychoeducation.Crit Care Med. 2018
  4. Lytwyn J, Jung P, Alexander B, Hiebert B, DubielC, Kimber D, Hamm N, Kehler D,Stammers A, Clarke M, Fraser C, Pedreira B, Duhamel T, Tangri N,Arora RC.The Impact ofFrailty on Functional Survival in Patients One-Year Post Cardiac Surgery.J ThoracCardiovasc Surg. 2017 Dec;154(6):1990-1999
  5. Arora,Rakesh C; Djaiani, George ; Rudolph, James L.Detection, Prevention, andManagement of Delirium in the Critically Ill Cardiac Patient and Patients Who UndergoCardiac Procedures.Canadian Journal of Cardiology, January 2017, Vol.33(1), pp.80-87

Top Performance Award of the Editorial Board -The Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery

MHRC/MMSF F.W. DuVal Clinical Research Professorship – University of Manitoba

Most Outstanding Research Award – Department of Surgery – University of Manitoba

Teacher of the Year – Section of Cardiac Surgery – University of Manitoba

Rudy Falk Clinician Scientist Award – University of Manitoba

Department of Surgery Grant, University of Manitoba – “Determining Effectiveness of Using Patient-Engagement Panels to Successfully Implement Enhanced Recovery after Cardiac Surgery”
Centre for Healthcare Innovation Grant – “Expanding Enhanced Recover After Surgery (ERAS) guidelines for cardiac surgery.”

Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada Grant – “protein to Enhance outcomes of (pre)frail patients undergoing Cardiac Surgery – The PROTECT-CS Study.”
Department of Surgery Grant, University of Manitoba – “The Patient engagement and information dissemination using an electronic application-based platform to facilitate enhanced recovery after cardiac surgery – The REACH and RECOVER study”

Department of Surgery Grant, University of Manitoba – “SUCCESS – ensuring cardiac surgery patients thrive following hospital discharge”

Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR) Grant – “The PERFORM-TAVR trial (Protein and Exercise to Reverse Frailty in older men and women undergoing Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement)” (co-investigator)
Department of Surgery, University of Manitoba – “Validation of the “4AT” Delirium Screening Tool in a Cardiac Surgery Patient Population”

Department of Surgery, University of Manitoba – “The Cardiac Patient-Centered Medical Home (C-PCMH) – a pilot study”

Technology Evaluation in the Elderly Network – “Essential Frailty Toolset “
Department of Surgery, University of Manitoba – “The RESPOND-CS Study – ensuring patients thrive after prolonged intensive care unit length of stay”
Department of Surgery, University of Manitoba – “Valve Surgery in Manitoba: A 20 Year Longitudinal Follow-up Study.”

Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR) Grant – “The PREHAB Study – Pre-operative rehabilitation for reduction of Hospitalization After Coronary Bypass and valvular surgery”
Department of Surgery, University of Manitoba – “The impact of frailty on postoperative delirium in cardiac surgery patients – long-term follow-up”

Lawson Foundation – “Diabetes Cardiac Surgery Initiative (DCI): A community based pre-cardiac surgery diabetes care project.”

Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR) Grant – “Measurement of frailty to identify high-risk elderly patients referred for surgical and transcatheter aortic valve replacement.”

Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR) Grant – “Regenerative Medicine and Nanomedicine Initiative – Emerging Team Grants.”