Clinical Focus

  • Pediatric Critical Care Medicine
  • Neurocritical Care

Academic Appointments

Administrative Appointments

  • Associate Director Pediatric Neurocritical care, Critical Care Medicine (2018 - Present)

Professional Education

  • Medical Education:Medical College Of Wisconsin Office of Graduate Medical Education (2010) WI
  • Board Certification: Pediatric Critical Care Medicine, American Board of Pediatrics (2016)
  • Fellowship:Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (2016) MD
  • Board Certification: Pediatrics, American Board of Pediatrics (2013)
  • Residency:Children's National Medical Center (2013) DC

Research & Scholarship

Current Research and Scholarly Interests

My research interests reside in the field of Neurocritical Care Medicine. My research focus has included inflammation following traumatic brain injury, outcome prediction after cardiac arrest, and neuro-monitoring in the pediatric intensive care setting. These interests are integrated clinically to focus on the merging of specialized neurologic monitoring and care with prognostic efforts in critically ill patients.


All Publications

  • A Case Series of Parechovirus Encephalopathy: Apnea and Autonomic Dysregulation in Critically Ill Infants JOURNAL OF CHILD NEUROLOGY Ristagno, E. H., Bhalla, S. C., Rasmussen, L. K. 2018; 33 (12): 788–93


    This article aims to describe a rare cause of severe encephalitis in 2 cases of infants with signs of intracranial hypertension and severe autonomic dysregulation. The authors conclude that human parechoviruses are becoming a more recognized cause of encephalitis because of the increasing use of rapid detection methods. With early recognition of this clinical entity, improved care can be administered.

    View details for DOI 10.1177/0883073818789317

    View details for Web of Science ID 000444976000007

    View details for PubMedID 30105932

  • Traumatic injury leads to inflammation and altered tryptophan metabolism in the juvenile rabbit brain. Journal of neurotrauma Zhang, Z., Rasmussen, L., Saraswati, M., Koehler, R., Robertson, C. L., Kannan, S. 2018


    Neuroinflammation following traumatic brain injury (TBI) contributes to widespread cell death and tissue loss. Here we evaluated the sequential inflammatory response in the brain, as well as inflammation-induced changes in brain tryptophan metabolism over time in a rabbit pediatric TBI model. On postnatal day 5-7 (P5-7), New Zealand white rabbit littermates were randomized into three groups, naive (no injury), sham (craniotomy alone) and TBI (controlled cortical impact). Animals were sacrificed at 6 h, 1, 3, 7 and 21 days post-injury for evaluating levels of pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines, as well as the major components in the tryptophan-kynurenine pathway. We found that 1) the pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokine levels in the brain injury area were differentially regulated in a time-dependent manner post-injury. 2) Indoleamine 2,3 dioxygeenase 1 (IDO1) was upregulated around the injury area in TBI kits that persisted at 21 days post-injury. 3) The mean length of serotonin-staining fibers was significantly reduced in the injured brain region in TBI kits for at least 21 days post-injury. 4) Kynurenine level significantly increased at 7 days post-injury. A significant decrease in the serotonin/tryptophan ratio and melatonin/tryptophan ratio at 21 days post-injury was noted, suggesting that tryptophan metabolism is altered after TBI. A better understanding of the temporal evolution of immune responses and tryptophan metabolism during injury and repair following TBI is crucial for the development of novel therapeutic strategies targeting these pathways.

    View details for DOI 10.1089/neu.2017.5450

    View details for PubMedID 30019623

  • Neurocritical Care for Severe Pediatric Traumatic Brain Injury Rasmussen, L., Raghupathi, R., Lang Chen , S., Huh, J., Su, F. Medscap Drugs and Diseases. 2018
  • A Case Series of Parechovirus Encephalopathy: Apnea and Autonomic Dysregulation in Critically Ill Infants Journal of child neurology Elizabeth, R. H., Sonam, B. C., Lindsey , R. K. 2018; 33 (12): 788-93
  • Albuterol Use in Children Hospitalized with Human Metapneumovirus Respiratory Infection INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF PEDIATRICS Rasmussen, L. K., Schuette, J., Spaeder, M. C. 2016: 7021943


    Introduction. Human metapneumovirus (HMPV) is a paramyxovirus from the same subfamily as respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and causes similar acute lower respiratory tract infection. Albuterol in the setting of acute RSV infection is controversial and has not yet been studied in HMPV. We sought to determine the frequency of albuterol use in HMPV infection and the association between albuterol administration and patient outcomes. Methods. We conducted a retrospective cohort study identifying all patients hospitalized in a tertiary care children's hospital with laboratory-confirmed HMPV infection between January 2010 and December 2010. Results. There were 207 patients included in the study; 57% had a chronic medical condition. The median hospital length of stay was 3 days. Only 31% of patients in the study had a documented wheezing history, while 69% of patients received at least one albuterol treatment. There was no difference in length of stay between patients who received albuterol and those who did not. Conclusion. There is a high frequency of albuterol use in children hospitalized with HMPV infection. As with RSV, evidence may not support routine use of bronchodilators in patients with acute HMPV respiratory infection. Research involving additional patient outcomes and illness severity indicators would be useful in future studies.

    View details for DOI 10.1155/2016/7021943

    View details for Web of Science ID 000377865300001

    View details for PubMedID 26925109

    View details for PubMedCentralID PMC4748140