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Charles A. Vacchiano, PhD, CRNA, FAAN

(919) 681-3261
3011 Pearson Building

Dr. Vacchiano joined the faculty at the School of Nursing in 2008. He earned a BSN at Wright State University (OH) in 1979, a Bachelor of Science in Anesthesia from George Washington University in 1984, and a PhD in Physiology from the Medical University of South Carolina in 1995. He spent 26 years in the U.S. Navy as a practicing nurse anesthetist, educator, and researcher. During this time, he provided anesthesia care at stateside and overseas hospitals and aboard naval combat vessels, taught and performed clinical research in the Navy Nurse Corps Anesthesia Program, and was the Director of Biomedical Sciences Division at the Naval Aerospace Medical Research Laboratory.

Following his retirement from the U.S. Navy, Dr. Vacchiano became Director of the Gooding Institute, Bay Medical Center Nurse Anesthesia Program. He has published in multiple journals (including American Journal of Physiology, Cardiovascular Research, Shock, and the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists Journal, and serves as a reviewer for several agencies and journals. He has been elected President of the Board of Directors for the National Board for Certification and Recertification of Nurse Anesthetists (NBCRNA), and is a member of the NBCRNA task force developing recommendations for new CRNA recertification requirements. Dr. Vacchiano is the author of a chapter on regional anesthesia in the only anesthesia textbook written by nurse anesthetists. He was named the American Association of Nurse Anesthetist Researcher of the Year in 2007.

Dr. Vacchiano's research has been funded by several government and private agencies. His research interests include extremes of oxygen exposure in cell, animal and human models, and clinical studies in anesthesia and critical care.

Academic Program Affiliations

  • Master of Science in Nursing Program
  • Doctor of Nursing Practice Program
  • PhD in Nursing Program


  • PhD - Medical University of South Carolina
  • BS Anesthesia - George Washington University
  • BSN - Wright State University

Research Interests

Dr. Vacchiano's research interests include hypoxia, hyperoxia, pulmonary physiology, diving and aviation physiology, clinical anesthesia practice, and critical care. He holds a U.S. patent for a reduced-oxygen breathing device. In 2007, he received an Excellence in Technology Transfer Award from the Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer for a compact, portable reduced oxygen breathing device that he developed for for aviation hypoxia training.

In his current research, Dr. Vacchiano is investigating the effects of changes in blood pressure on measures of cerebral blood flow velocity and cerebral oxygenation in patients undergoing sitting shoulder surgery, in order to determine whether these measures may be useful surrogates for estimating the effects of altered systemic blood pressure on cerebral blood flow during surgery.

Awards and Honors

  • 2013 || Faye G. Abdellah Lecturer, Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences Research Day
  • 2010 || Outstanding Faculty Member Award, Duke University School of Nursing
  • 2007 || Researcher of the Year Award, American Association of Nurse Anesthetists
  • 2007 || Excellence in Technology Transfer Award, Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer
  • 2006 || Meritorious Service Medal, U.S. Navy
  • 2003 || Inducted, Sigma Theta Tau International
  • 2001 || Mary Hanna Memorial Journalism Award, American Society of PeriAnesthesia Nurses Meeting
  • 1999 || American Association of Nurse Anesthetists Foundation Distinguished Research Scholar Award, AANA Annual Faculty Meeting
  • 1994 || Young Investigator Award, International Shock Society
  • 1993 || Medical University of South Carolina Student Research Day
  • 1992 || Kuwait Liberation Medal, Military Award (Saudi Arabia)
  • 1992 || Combat Action Ribbon; Meritorious Unit Commendation; Southwest Asia Service Medal, U.S. Navy
  • 1992 || Kuwaiti Liberation Medal, Military Award, Kuwait
  • 1989 || Clinical Instructor of the Year, Anesthesia for Nurses Program, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC
  • 1989 || Humanitarian Service Medal, U.S. Navy
  • 1987 || Navy Achievement Medal; Overseas Service Ribbon, U.S. Navy
  • 1986 || Navy Unit Commendation; Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, U.S. Navy
  • 1980 || National Defense Service Medal, U.S. Navy

Areas of Expertise

  • Anesthesia

Areas of Interest

Clinical instruction of student nurse anesthetists

Representative Publications

  • 2015 -- PubMed # : 26210555 Rice, A. N. and Vacchiano, C. A. Response to Letter to the Editor. J Perianesth Nurs. 30(4); 268-9
  • 2015 -- PubMed # : 25813298 Rice, A. N. and Muckler, V. C. and Miller, W. R. and Vacchiano, C. A. Fast-tracking ambulatory surgery patients following anesthesia. J Perianesth Nurs. April, 2015 30(2); 124-33
  • 2015 -- PubMed # : 26016166 Hawkins, R. and Wooden, S. and Waters, E. and Vacchiano, C. NBCRNA response to Zambricki et al Guest Editorial. AANA J. 83(2); 86-9
  • 2015 -- PubMed # : 25694569 Titch, J. F. and Vacchiano, C. Pre-ictal bispectral index values; are they accurate? Br J Anaesth. 114(3); 529-30
  • 2014 -- PubMed # : 25313967 Ikeda, K. and MacLeod, D. B. and Grocott, H. P. and Moretti, E. W. and Ames, W. and Vacchiano, C. The accuracy of a near-infrared spectroscopy cerebral oximetry device and its potential value for estimating jugular venous oxygen saturation. Anesth Analg. December, 2014 119(6); 1381-92
  • 2014 -- PubMed # : 25332464 D'Angelo, M. and Hodgen, R. K. and Wofford, K. and Vacchiano, C. A Theoretical Mathematical Model to Estimate Blood Volume in Clinical Practice. Biol Res Nurs. October, 2014 114(3); 529-30
  • 2014 -- PubMed # : 24947022 Gill, M. and Natoli, M. J. and Vacchiano, C. and MacLeod, D. B. and Ikeda, K. and Qin, M. and Pollock, N. W. and Moon, R. E. and Pieper, C. and Vann, R. D. Effects of elevated oxygen and carbon dioxide partial pressures on respiratory function and cognitive performance. J Appl Physiol (1985). August, 2014 117(4); 406-12
  • 2014 -- PubMed # : 25167608 Wofford, K. and Hertzberg, M. and Silva, S. and Vacchiano, C. Effect of elective surgery on subjective health in veterans with chronic posttraumatic stress disorder. AANA J. August, 2014 82(4); 285-92
  • 2014 -- PubMed # : 25109164 Gallagher, K. and Vacchiano, C. Reexamining traditional intraoperative fluid administration: evolving views in the age of goal-directed therapy. AANA J. June, 2014 82(3); 235-42
  • 2014 -- Vacchiano, C. A. TSNRP study examines potential for cognitive stress test TSNRP News. Spring,/Summer 2014 2014(Spr/Sum); 4-5


Grant Funding (Selected)

  • Unmasking Cognitive Deficits After Recovery from Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

    Uniformed Services University of the Health Services
    08/2011 to 07/2014
    Role: PI

    Project Goal: The purpose of the study is to examine the use of mild hypoxia as a clinical tool to uncover latent cognitive defects after apparent recovery from a mild traumatic brain injury.

  • The Effects of Bio-Behavioral Intervention of the Release of Cytokines

    Henry M. Jackson Foundation
    09/2011 to 12/2011
  • The Influence of Elective Surgery on Functional Health in Veterans with PTSD

    Uniformed Services University of the Health Services
    HU0001-11-1-TS03 N11-P02
    08/2011 to 07/2012
  • Evaluation of the Relationship Between Velocity of Cerebral Blood Flow, Cerebral Tissue Oxygen Saturation, Mean Arterial Pressure and Cerebral Blood Flow During Sitting Orthopedic Shoulder Surgery

    American Association of Nurse Anesthetists Foundation;
    07/2009 to 12/2010
    Role: PI

    Project Goal: The primary objective of this study is to examine the effects of blood pressure changes on cerebral blood flow velocity and cerebral oxygenation in patients undergoing sitting shoulder surgery to determine if these measures may be useful surrogates for estimating the effects of changes in systemic blood pressure on cerebral blood flow.

  • Nurse Anesthesia Program Rural CRNA Initiative

    Health Resources and Service Administration (HRSA)
    07/2009 to 06/2012
    Role: Project Director

    Project Goal: The purpose of this project is to increase the number of Masters prepared Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNAs) practicing in rural, medically underserved areas of North Carolina by developing and implementing a distance learning component to our existing Nurse Anesthesia Program and by partnering with our existing hospital based clinical sites in rural / medically underserved areas to identify, recruit and enroll qualified nurses in the distance learning option.

  • Resuscitation of Bupivacaine Induced Cardiac Collapse

    Department of Defense, Tri-Service Nursing Research Program
    07/2005 to 01/2007
    Role: Co-PI / mentor for novice unfunded CRNAs
  • Assessment of Oxidative Stress in the Tactical Aviation and Aerospace Physiology Communities

    Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery
    02/2005 to 09/2007
    Role: PI

    Project Goal: The primary goal of this study was to measure the production of a group of oxygen- based free radical generated isomeric prostaglandin compounds (Isofurans) in the blood, urine and exhaled breath condensate of a group of pilots and altitude chamber inside observers intermittently and repeatedly exposed to 100% oxygen.

  • Oxidative Stress and Pulmonary Injury in US Navy Divers

    Department of Defense Tri-Service Nursing Research Program
    10/2004 to 09/2005
    Role: PI

    Project Goal: The primary goal of this study was to measure the production of a group of oxygen- based free radical generated isomeric prostaglandin compounds (Isofurans) in the blood, urine and exhaled breath condensate of a group of divers exposed to 100% oxygen at depth.

  • Aviation Vigilance Testing Under Simulated Hypoxia

    Office of Naval Research
    10/2001 to 09/2004
    Role: Associate Investigator

    Project Goal: The primary goal of this study was to examine the effects of simulated hypoxia at 10,000, 12,000 and 15,000 feet on cognitive functions associated with piloting an aircraft.

  • Comparison of the Effects of Fexofenidine, Cetirizine, and Placebo on Cognitive Performance in Naval Flight Personnel

    Aventis Pharmaceuticals
    NAMRL-31017 Aventis-4139
    06/2001 to 05/2004
    Role: PI

    Project Goal: The primary goal of this study was evaluate the effects of two medications commonly used to treat seasonal allergic rhinitis with respect to their ability to compromise the response to an in-flight emergency. The secondary goal was to evaluate the use of sea-level generated hypoxia as a surrogate in-flight emergency to determine whether or not specific prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, herbal treatments and nutritional supplements can be used by personnel in an active flight status.


Tuesday, January 30, 2018

DNP- nurse anesthesia alumni Matthew Heyes, Lauren Schnitzen, Deana Staff and faculty members Charles Vacchiano, Chris Muckler and Frank Titch recently published an article entitled "Recertification and Reentry to Practice for Nurse Anesthetists: Determining Core Competencies and Evaluating Performance via High-Fidelity Simulation Technology" in the Journal of Nursing Regulation. Co-authors include experts from Marquette University. 

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Charles Vacchiano and Susan Silva recently published an article entitled "Characterization of bilateral frontal lobe cerebral oxygen saturation in patients with mild traumatic brain injury" in Nursing Outlook. 


Tuesday, June 6, 2017

When a patient undergoes major surgery, intravenous fluid therapy, or fluid replacement, is a critical part of the intraoperative care to optimize a patient’s blood volume, flow and oxygenation of the tissues. The current “gold standard” method to determine a patient’s total blood volume requires an injection of a radioactive tracer and serial blood sampling and is only suitable for laboratory use. 

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Charles "Chuck" Vacchiano publishes article entitled "Retinal oximetry measures systemic hypoxia in central nervous system vessels in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease" in the March issue of Public Library of Science (PLoS) Journal One. Co-authors include experts from the University of Iceland and the The National University Hospital of Iceland Departments of Ophthalmology, Anesthesiology and Respiratory Medicine and Sleep.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Charles "Chuck" Vacchiano was invited for a podium presentation at the Wake Forest School of Medicine Nurse Anesthesia Program Alumni Association Educational Conference in Winston Salem, North Carolina. The presentation covered current issues with intraoperative fluid replacement therapy and the evolving science of physiologic goal directed fluid therapy.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Kudos to Chuck Vacchiano for his award in collaboration with the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences and the TriService Nursing Research Program on their application entitled “Pilot Validation of a Hemodilution Technique to Estimate Blood Volume in Vivo." This project has been funded for a two-year award period.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Charles "Chuck" Vacchiano was invited for two podium presentations at the Virginia Association of Nurse Anesthetists Winter Meeting in Richmond, VA earlier this month. The presentations involved the anesthetic concerns for the patient with a mild traumatic brain injury and meeting the new requirements for continued certification by the National Board of Certification and Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Virginia "Chris" Muckler and Charles "Chuck" Vacchiano published an article entitled "Point-of-Contact Assessment of Nurse Anesthetists' Knowledge and Perceptions of Management of Anesthesia-Related Critical Incidents" in the February issue of the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists Journal. Other co-authors included Linda Stone with Raleigh School of Nurse Anesthesia and Scott Tyrey with American Anesthesiology of North Carolina.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Charles Vacchiano is the co-editor of volume 35 of the Annual Review of Nursing Research entitled "Anesthesia and Pain Management," which was published this month. This volume is unique among publications in the field of anesthesia in that it contains a collection of contemporary anesthesia topics for which there is a body of literature that occasionally provides sound evidence for practice change, but more often generates more questions than answers and suggests the need for additional research before a practice change can be recommended.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Charles "Chuck" Vacchiano was recently appointed as a non-pharmacist health care professional to the Board of Pharmacy Specialties. The Board of Pharmacy Specialties is responsible for granting recognition to appropriate pharmacy practice specialties and establishes standards for certification of pharmacists in eight different specialties.

The appointment is for a three-year period starting January 1, 2017.