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Texas Medical Center

Critical Care
Phone: 832-826-6230


6651 Main Street
MC E1420
Houston, TX 77030

Barbara-Jo Achuff, MD, FAAP

Attending Physician, Department of Critical Care Medicine

Associate Professor, Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine


School Education Degree Year
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Fellowship Pediatric Critical Care 2014
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia Residency Pediatrics 1999
Jefferson Medical College Medical School Doctor of Medicine 1992


As an attending in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit, my overarching career goal is to improve early and late outcomes for children with cardiac disease with a primary focus on optimization of sedation and pain management practices during the patient’s intensive care unit stay. During my advanced training, fellowship, and as attending in the CICU, I work with a team that measures applied medication and treatment options and their effect on early outcomes after cardiac surgery.  

Clinical Interests

In my current leadership roles for a multi-disciplinary sedation stewardship team, I have developed an expanding, daily refreshed database including all medications administered to our ICU patients. Through novel data discovery, pattern recognition and visualizations of large amount of data over time, we have developed recommended age-based analgesia/sedation pathways and metrics to sustain those pathways for patients in the CICU. With current, accurate and timely clinical reports and dash boarding, our team continues to lead scientific processes and analytics leveraging data for quality improvement and excellent care at the bedside for the most fragile patients in the pediatric cardiac intensive care unit.   

Research Interests

My research on medication choices and the effect on post-operative mechanical ventilation reveals that meticulous post-operatively pain and sedation management allows less opioid exposure and early liberation from mechanical ventilator support after cardiac surgery, even for the youngest patients.  My more recent publications include a novel approach to analyze high fidelity hemodynamic data including millions of beat-to-beat systolic blood pressure measurements surrounding recorded medication administration in our pediatric CICU. This work showed that the basic mathematical tools for approximating such systems have sufficient accuracy for describing complex non-linear behaviors. The development of algorithms around therapies such as medication doses or other interventions in the ICU using expert systems allows the analysis of time-series data and can observe changes in physiologic data around doses. This provides insight to clinicians who can be prepared to intervene and act accordingly improving outcomes for these critically ill children.  


Organization Name Role
Alpha Omega Alpha Alumni Member
American Academy of Cardiology Member
American Academy of Pediatrics Fellow
Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Society Member; Participant
Pediatric Critical Care Consortium (PC4) COMFORT Section Leader 2019 Pain-Sedation and Delirium Practices in the 33 institution consortium
Pediatric Critical Care Medicine Ad Hoc Reviewer (July 2015 to present)
Pediatric Extracorporeal Outcomes Registry (PEDECOR) Member; Data collection for pediatric mechanical support from ECMO, national registry including multiple institutions across the country
Sedation Stewardship Committee Lead, Cardiac Critical Care: Multidisciplinary team with the mission to evaluate and formulate high quality sedation practices within the cardiac intensive care unit
Society of Critical Care Medicine Member; Participant

Selected Publications

Achuff BJ, Lemmings K; Causey JC; Sembera KA, Checchia PA Ghanayem NS: Opioid Weaning Protocol Using Morphine vs. Methadone Decreases Duration and Exposure in Patients after Norwood Procedure Pediatr Crit Care Med. 2022 Jan 5. doi: 10.1097/PCC.0000000000002885. Online ahead of print. PMID: 34982761 

Savorgnan F, Bhat PN, Checchia PA, Acosta S, Tume SC, Lasa JJ, Asadourian V, Achuff BJ, Flores S, Ahmed M, Crouthamel DI, Loomba RS, Bronicki RA. RBC Transfusion Induced ST Segment Variability Following the Norwood Procedure. Crit Care Explor. 2021 May 20;3(5):e0417. doi: 10.1097/CCE.0000000000000417. eCollection 2021 May.PMID: 34036271  

Afonso NS, Ninemire MR, Gowda SH, Jump JL, Lantin-Hermoso RL, Johnson KE, Puri K, Hope KD, Kritz E, Achuff BJ, Gurganious L, Bhat PN. Redefining the Relationship: Palliative Care in Critical Perinatal and Neonatal Cardiac Patients. Children. 2021; 8(7):548. PMID:34201973 

Hope KD, Bhat PN, Dreyer WJ, Elias BA, Jump JL, Santucci G, Afonso NS, Ninemire MR, Achuff BJ, Kritz EM, Gowda SH, Puri K. Pediatric Palliative Care in the Heart Failure, Ventricular Assist Device and Transplant Populations: Supporting Patients, Families and Their Clinical Teams. Children. 2021; 8(6):468. PMID:34199474 

Pollak U, Bronicki RA, Achuff BJ and Checchia, PA, 2019. Postoperative Pain Management in Pediatric Patients Undergoing Cardiac Surgery: Where Are We Heading?. Journal of Intensive Care Medicine, PMID : 31446831 

Achuff BJ, Moffett, B, Acosta, S; Lasa, J; Checchia, PA; Rusin, C: Hypotensive Response to IV Acetaminophen in Pediatric Cardiac Patients; STAR Award Recognition SCCM, San Antonio, TX February 2018; Pediatric Critical Care Medicine 2019 Jan PMID: 30676493 

Achuff BJ, Elias MD, O’ Connor M, et al: Risk Factors for Mortality in Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Unit Patients Managed with Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation: A Contemporary Review. Poster Presentation ACC Chicago April 2016 Cardiol Young Epub Oct 31 2018: 2019 Jan 29 PMID: 30378526 

* Texas Children's Hospital physicians' licenses and credentials are reviewed prior to practicing at any of our facilities. Sections titled From the Doctor, Professional Organizations and Publications were provided by the physician's office and were not verified by Texas Children's Hospital.