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.

He is also the secretary/treasurer of the American Board of Neurophysiological Monitoring and is on the board of directors of the American Society of Neurophysiological Monitoring. He has published 71 refereed articles and 14 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
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

Honors & Awards

Research Snapshot Award, Society of Critical Care Medicine, 45th Critical Care Congress, February 21-24, 2016, Orlando, Fla.

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

In collaboration with colleagues from the Physical Activity and Weight Management Research Center, Dr. Balzer has been investigating and developing feasible strategies to decrease the burden of cardiovascular disease. He is currently investigating the novel health benefits of using a sit-stand desk. Dr. Balzer is quantifying the effects of using a sit-stand desk on blood pressure (the most common modifiable risk factor for heart disease), arterial stiffness measured by pulse-wave velocity (a global measure of cardiovascular health), and cerebrovascular blood flow velocity (blood flow in the brain that is related to cognitive function and brain health). This research will greatly contribute to the understanding of potential health benefits of sit-stand desks.

The clinical implications of these acute health benefits, if confirmed, are significant. Firstly, patients with cardiovascular disease risk factors (hypertension, arterial stiffness, high risk for stroke or cognitive decline) could have therapeutic benefit from being ‘prescribed’ a sit-stand desk with a transitioning routine. Moreover from a public health perspective and among healthy working adults, decreasing the daily exposure to high blood pressure, arterial stiffness, and reduced cerebrovascular blood flow caused by prolonged sitting at work, could reduce the development of cardiovascular disease in the working population.