Parthasarathy D. Thirumala, MD

  • Professor
  • Director, Center of Clinical Neurophysiology

Parthasarathy D. Thirumala, MD, joined the Center of Clinical Neurophysiology in June 2008. He specializes in intraoperative neurophysiological monitoring to adult and pediatric neurosurgical, orthopedic, ENT, vascular and interventional neuroradiology procedures.

Dr. Thirumala completed his neurology residency and clinical neurophysiology fellowship training at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. He completed his internship in internal medicine training at Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. Prior to clinical training he completed his masters degree in biomedical engineering at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Dr. Thirumala completed his medical training in India at Stanley Medical College in Chennai, India.

His clinical and research interests include intraoperative neurophysiological monitoring during expanded endonasal approach, functional cortical mapping during awake craniotomies, ICU EEG.

He has published over 90 peer reviewed articles, book chapters, and invited articles in the journals including JAMA, Neurology, Neurology, Neurosurgery, Journal of Neurosurgery, and Journal of Clinical Neurophysiology. He has given lectures both nationally and internationally on the value of intraoperative neurophysiological monitoring.

See Dr. Thirumala's CV.

Specialized Areas of Interest

Intraoperative neurophysiological monitoring; functional cortical mapping during awake craniotomies; neurophysiological monitoring during minimally invasive endonasal approach to skull base surgeries, electroencephalography in the intensive care unit.

Board Certifications

American Board of Clinical Neurophysiology: Intraoperative Monitoring
American Board of Neuroimaging
American Board of Neurophysiologic Monitoring
American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology

Hospital Privileges

Jameson Hospital
Monongahela Valley Hospital
UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh
UPMC Hamot
UPMC Horizon
UPMC Magee-Womens Hospital
UPMC Mercy
UPMC Passavant
UPMC Presbyterian
UPMC St. Margaret
UPMC Shadyside

Professional Organization Membership

American Academy of Neurology
American Association of Neuromuscular and Electrodiagnostic Medicine
American Clinical Neurophysiology Society
American Epilepsy Society
American Medical Association
American Society of Neuroimaging
American Society of Neuromonitoring
America’s Registry of Outstanding Professionals
North American Spine Society

Education & Training

  • MBBS, Stanley Medical College, 1997
  • MS, University of Illinois, Bioengineering, 2001
  • Residency, Neurology, University of Pittsburgh, 2006
  • Fellowship, Clinical Neurophysiology, University of Pittsburgh, 2007

Selected Publications

Thirumala PD, Krishnaiah B, Habeych M, Crammond DJ, Balzer J, Hearing outcomes after loss of brainstem auditory evoked potentials during microvascular decompressionJournal of Clinical Neuroscience 22(4):659-63, 2015.

Thirumala PD, Kumar H, Bertolet M, Habeych ME, Crammond DJ, Balzer JR Risk factors for cranial nerve deficits during carotid endarterectomy: a retrospective studyClin Neurol Neurosurg 130:150-4, 2015.

Thirumala P, Meigh K, Dasyam N, Shankar P, Sarma KR, Sarma DR, Habeych M, Crammond D, Balzer J.  The incidence of high-frequency hearing loss after microvascular decompression for trigeminal neuralgia, glossopharyngeal neuralgia, or geniculate neuralgiaJ Neurosurg 1:1-7, 2015.

Thirumala PD, Wang X, Shah A, Habeych M, Crammond D, Balzer JR, Sekula R. Clinical impact of residual lateral spread response after adequate microvascular decompression for hemifacial spasm: A retrospective analysisBr J Neurosurg 22:1-5, 2015.

Nwachuku EL, Yabes YG, Crammond DJ, Habeych ME, Balzer JR, Thirumala PD, Diagnostic Value of Somatosensory Evoked Potential (SSEP) Changes During Carotid Endarterectomy JAMA Neurol 72(1):73-80, 2015.

Habeych M, Thirumala PD, Crammond DJ, Balzer J. Intraoperative neurophysiological monitoring of microvascular decompression for Glossopharyngeal neuralgia. Journal of Clinical NeurophysiologyJ Clin Neurophysiol 31(4):337-43, 2014.

Mohanraj S, Thirumala PD, , Habeych M, Crammond DJ, Balzer J. Appropriate time to establish baseline responses for brainstem auditory evoked potentials during microvascular decompression for hemifacial spasmJ Clin Neurophysiol 31(5):500-4, 2014.

Thirumala PD, Bodily L, Tint D, Ward TW, Deeney VF, Crammond D, Habeych ME, Balzer JR. Somatosensory evoked potential monitoring during instrumented scoliosis corrective procedures: validity revisitedSpine J 14(8):1572-80, 2014.

Thirumala PD, Krishnaiah B, Habeych M, Crammond DJ, Balzer J. Analysis of Wave III of Brain stem Auditory Evoked Potential Waveforms During Microvascular Decompression of Cranial Nerve VII for Hemifacial SpasmJ Clin Neurophysiol 31(2):127-32, 2014.

Ying T, Thirumala P, Chang Y, Habeych M, Crammond D, Balzer J. Emiprical factors associated with Brainstem auditory evoked potential monitoring during microvascular decompression for hemifacial spasm and its correlation to hearing lossActa Neurochir (Wien) 156(3):571-5, 2014.

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

Research Activities

Realtime evaluation of adverse events ( 

Perioperative stroke can result in death secondary to a clot in a large cerebral blood vessel. Dr. Thirumala’s research has shown that a patient with perioperative stroke is 6 to 8 times more likely to die than a patient with an intraoperative myocardial infarction. The annual incidence of 55,000 perioperative strokes per year is a significant underestimate, because a recent study showed that incidence of perioperative stroke increased depending on the method of evaluation (surgeon (7%), neurologist (17%), imaging (54%)). Despite the availability of approved, lifesaving, mechanical clot removal therapy it is not routinely administered due to delay in stroke detection. This has prompted the American Heart Association in a scientific statement to recommend neuromonitoring to detect strokes. Currently, in high-risk cardiovascular and neurological surgery, a trained neurologist visually monitors the EEG signals continuously and applies empirical criteria to detect cerebral ischemia and stroke. However, human visual monitoring is mentally demanding, expensive, and limits scalability by the neurologist to monitor many surgeries. This explains why, despite availability of EEG devices, it is not universally available at all medical institutions. Thus, there is a clear need for solutions, which can support the neurologist to improve stroke detection so timely lifesaving therapies can be administered.

Dr. Thirumala’s solution is READE (real time evaluation of adverse events), a software system that can display intraoperative EEG signals, use machine learning to detect stroke and alert the monitoring neurologist in real-time. With seed funding ($500K) from the UPMC’s Enterprises Division, Dr. Thirumala has developed initial models to detect ischemia, a precursor of stroke. This was done on EEG data collected during carotid endarterectomy (CEA). Dr. Thirumala plans to develop more comprehensive models from the full data set during the CEA project.

Dr. Thirumala expects the algorithm to detect stroke during surgery and reduce the time to effective clinical intervention for patients who undergo cardiovascular surgeries. Annually, one million cardiovascular surgeries are conducted in U.S. alone. He expects this will translate to neuromonitoring all surgical procedures where there is a risk of stroke. Twenty million surgeries are conducted every year in the U.S., of which 4 million are at risk of stroke. Finally, Dr. Thirumala believes that neuromonitoring can also be extended to detect spinal cord and peripheral nerve injury. This will provide significant up sell opportunities for algorithms which can detect spinal cord and peripheral nerve injury.

Media Appearances

READE-IONM and its Path to Commercialization
November 24, 2021