Jeffrey Balzer, PhD

Associate Professor
Director, Clinical Services, Center for Clinical Neurophysiology
Director, Cerebral Blood Flow Laboratory

Jeffrey Balzer




Jeffrey Balzer, PhD, is director of clinical operations and staff clinical neurophysiologist at the Center for Clinical Neurophysiology and director of the Cerebral Blood Flow Laboratory at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

His current research interests range from the utilization of genetic biomarkers for the prediction of delayed cerebral ischemia in subarachnoid hemorrhage to the use of blood flow measures in mild head injury and concussion to vagal nerve stimulation to control cardiac arythmias. Dr. Balzer received his undergraduate education at the University of Pittsburgh, where he also pursued a graduate education and a PhD in behavioral neuroscience.

Dr. Balzer is also the secretary/treasurer of the American Board of Neurophysiological Monitoring and on the board of directors of the American Society of Neurophysiological Monitoring He has published 56 refereed articles and 12 book chapters.

Specialized Areas of Interest

Intraoperative neurophysiological monitoring, subarachnoid hemorrhage, concussion, cerebral blood flow.

Board Certifications

American Board of Neurophysiological Monitoring

Hospital Privileges

Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC
Jameson Hospital
Monongahela Valley Hospital
Shriner’s Hospital
UPMC Altoona
UPMC Hamot
UPMC Horizon
UPMC McKeesport
UPMC Mercy
UPMC Passavant
UPMC Presbyterian
UPMC St. Margaret’s
UPMC Shadyside

Professional Organization Membership

American Clinical Neurophysiology Society
American Association for the Advancement of Science
American Society for Neurophysiological Monitoring (Fellow)
New York Academy of Sciences
Pittsburgh Neuroscience Society

Education & Training

BS, Behavioral Neuroscience, University of Pittsburgh, 1984
MS, Behavioral Neuroscience, University of Pittsburgh, 1989
PhD, Behavioral Neuroscience, University of Pittsburgh, 1994
Fellowship, Neurophysiology, University of Pittsburgh, 1994

Selected Publications

Trivedi D, Navid F, Balzer JR, Joshi R, Lacomis JM, Jovin TG, Althouse AD, Gleason TG. Aggressive aortic arch and carotid replacement strategy for type A aortic dissection improves neurologic outcomes. Ann Thorac Surg 101(3):896-905, 2016.

Nwachuku EL, Balzer JR, Thirumala PD. Diagnostic value of somatosensory evoked potential changes during carotid endarterectomy: A systematic review and meta-analysis. JAMA Neurol 72(1):73-80, 2015.

Yousef KM, Balzer JR, Bender CM, Hoffman LA, Poloyac SM, Ye F, Sherwood PR. Cerebral perfusion pressure and delayed cerebral ischemia after aneurysmal subarachnoid hemorrhage. Am J Crit Care Nursing 24(24):E65-E71, 2015.

Ying T, Thirumala P, Chang Y, Habeych M, Crammond DJ, Balzer JR. Empirical factors associated with brainstem auditory evoked potential monitoring during microvascular decompression for hemifacial spasm and its correlation to hearing loss. Acta Neurochir (Wien) 156:571-575, 2014.

Thirumala PD, Carnovale G, Habeych M, Crammond DJ, Balzer JR. Diagnostic accuracy of brainstem auditory evoked potentials during microvascular decompression. Neurology 83(19):1747-52, 2014.

Ying T, Thirumala PD, Shah A, Nikonow T, Wichman K, Holmes M, Hirsch B, Chang YF,  Gardner P, Habeych M, Crammond DJ, Burkhart L, Horowitz M, Balzer JR. The incidence of high frequency hearing loss after microvascular decompression for hemifacial spasm. J Neurosurg 118(4):719-24, 2013.

Balzer JR, Tomycz ND, Crammond DJ, Habeych M, Thirumala PD, Urgo L, Moossy JJ. Localization of cervical and cervicomedullary stimulation leads for pain treatment using median nerve somatosensory evoked potential collision testing. J Neurosurg 114(1):200-205, 2011.

Smith PN, Balzer JR, Khan MH, Davis RA, Crammond D, Welch WC, Gerszten P, Kang JD, Donaldson WF, Sclabassi RJ.  2007. The utility of somatosensory evoked potential monitoring during anterior cervical discectomy and fusion in non-myelopathic patients - A review of 1039 cases. The Spine Journal 7(1):83-87, 2007. 

Pindzola RR, Balzer JR, Nemoto EM, Goldstein S, Yonas H. Cerebrovascular reserve in patients with carotid occlusive disease assessed by Stable Xenon/CT cerebral blood flow and transcranial Doppler. Stroke 32:1811-1817, 2001.

Balzer JR, Rose RD, Welch WC, Sclabassi RJ. Simultaneous SSEP and EMG recording during lumbosacral decompression and instrumentation. Neurosurgery 42:1318‑1325, 1998.

A complete list of Dr. Balzer's publications can be reviewed through the National Library of Medicine's publication database.

Research Activities

Dr. Balzer has continued to work with the SAH investigational group exploring the relationship between SAH, genetic biomarkers and neurological outcomes. Their work in the past year has culminated in several significant publications. Specifically, they have demonstrated that CSF 20-HETE is independently associated with an over three-fold increase in mortality in the SAH patient population; thereby implicating 20-HETE as one of the only known markers associated with mortality in SAH patient. It is notable that this group was the first to report the association of 20-HETE with patient outcomes. These results were recently published in the Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism

In addition to research in SAH, Dr. Balzer was involved in a multicenter trial investigating methods to improve the safety of XLIF spine procedures with Adam Kanter, MD. They, and others, recently published these results in the European Spine Journal. Dr. Balzer is now engaged in an additional multi-center trial testing innovative IOM strategies during these same procedures. 

Other research included the use of evoked potentials to predict delayed cerebral ischemia in the high-grade SAH patient population, being conducted as part of a Copeland award, and an outcome study investigating the implications of balloon remodeling during endovascular treatment of aneurysms.