Anesthesia can be a scary prospect for children and their families. Children of all ages bring special challenges and needs to the hospital. The dedicated physicians and nurse anesthetists of the Department of Pediatric Anesthesiology are trained not only to provide anesthesia for children, but also to provide support for the special emotional needs of the child and his or her family.

Though only a few years old as an independent department, Cleveland Clinic Pediatric Anesthesiologists focus on compassion, safe anesthesia, and continuing education for both new anesthesiologists and anesthetists, and for the continuing improvement of its experienced staff.

Why We Are Different

Cleveland Clinic's Department of Pediatric Anesthesia distinguishes itself with its unwavering commitment to meet these goals:

Patient Safety

Cleveland Clinic Children's hires only the best to work with our patients—professionals who are knowledgeable and caring. We also make sure that the right people are available to handle difficult situations and emergencies at all times. An anesthesiologist is immediately available at all times, whether patients are awaiting surgery or in the recovery room. Cleveland Clinic maintains the highest standards for patient safety and world-class care in all of its equipment, facilities and procedures. We always strive to be on the cutting edge, the best practices and best technology are always available for Cleveland Clinic patients.

Patient Comfort

Cleveland Clinic Children's and Cleveland Clinic's Department of Pediatric Anesthesiology stand out by ensuring:

  • We pre-medicate children before anesthesia and allow their parents into the room while the anesthesia takes affect.
  • We keep parents and patients as informed and prepared as possible by explaining the procedures, treatment and pain plans, and by easing the child into anesthesia at their own speed.
  • We choose appropriate methods and levels of anesthesia to reduce the child's anxiety.
  • We allow the patients to wake up on their own time.
  • Our entire process for taking care of children and adults alike is focused both on providing optimum medical care while providing a caring, empathetic patient experience that is as comfortable as possible for the patient and his or her family.


Comprehensive Pediatric Anesthesia Services

Physicians and Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) from the Department of Pediatric Anesthesiology provide all anesthesiology services to children undergoing surgery and medical testing in Cleveland Clinic Children's. Our Staff are also experts in dealing with the special challenges of patients with congenital heart problems (e.g. heart problems existing from birth) and often provide anesthesia for these patients even as adults.

Services performed include:

  • Assessing and minimizing patient risk and anxiety before surgery.
  • Preparing children and their parents for upcoming anesthesia.
  • Providing anesthesia for all children's surgical procedures.
  • Providing sedation or anesthesia for diagnostic testing.
  • Providing pain blocks and epidural anesthesia for children.
  • Monitoring of patients during surgery and recovery.
  • Providing all necessary services to minimize patient pain or other discomforts after surgery.

Pediatric Anesthesiology at Cleveland Clinic's community hospitals and satellite locations is provided by the Institute's Anesthesiology Department, but more complex services are often performed at Cleveland Clinic main campus.



Dorothea A. Markakis MD, FAAP
Dorothea A. Markakis MD, FAAP
Department Chair
Pilar Castro MD, MEd
Pilar Castro MD, MEd
Fellowship Director


Fellowship Program

In addition to training anesthesiology residents in the care of children, the Department of Pediatric Anesthesiology has a fully accredited Fellowship in Pediatric Anesthesiology. With the recent opening of the Debra Ann November Pediatric Airway and Pulmonary Mechanics Lab, we have created a simulation center focused on the management of pediatric respiration and ventilation that is second to none.

Members of our staff are nationally recognized experts who serve organizations such as The American Board of Anesthesiology, the Society for Pediatric Anesthesia and the Society for Education in Anesthesia.

The Future

The Future

Pediatric Anesthesiology at Cleveland Clinic continues to grow steadily as Cleveland Clinic Children's practice and reputation grows. The congenital heart service, in particular, is expected to expand rapidly over the next few years as Cleveland Clinic Children's expands its heart services with additional, highly-respected surgeons. We have also started doing ambulatory pediatric procedures at the Carnegie Ambulatory Surgery Center.

We continue to help patients through difficult procedures by minimizing pain and anxiety. We continue to add new methods of pain control by utilizing the latest procedures and medications in order to limit pain and reduce recovery time. To help minimize patient anxiety, we insert the epidurals or nerve blocks while the child is still asleep. Cleveland Clinic continues to implement procedures making sure all nerve blocks are inserted through ultrasound imagery, making the procedure much safer and much quicker than before.

The field of Pediatric Anesthesiology is at the forefront of innovation, especially in patient monitoring equipment. Cleveland Clinic is using innovative monitors which are able to chart oxygen levels in the brain and liver, providing a much clearer picture of how a well a patient is doing while under anesthesia.

Smaller and more precise ventilators are an important new innovation used at Cleveland Clinic to provide proper anesthesia and life support to our youngest patients.