UH Hilo’s Sheri Tokumaru helps write new neurocritical care guidelines for cerebral edema

Published in a leading journal, the guidelines will be used in mid-size and smaller hospitals with mixed intensive care units that handle all types of critical care.

Sheri Tokumaru and photo of pharmacy college.
Sheri Tokumaru

Sheri Tokumaru, associate professor of pharmacy practice at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy, is one of 12 medical professionals from around the country chosen to develop a set of guidelines for the acute treatment of cerebral edema in neurocritical care patients. Published in late March 2020 in Neurocritical Care Journal, the guidelines are endorsed by the Society of Critical Care Medicine, American Academy of Neurology, and American Association of Neuroscience Nursing.

“These guidelines will be most useful in mid-size and smaller hospitals with mixed intensive care units that handle all types of critical care,” says Tokumaru. “For instance, here in Hawaiʻi, we have many hospitals with intensive care units that may not have quick access to a neurocritical care expert.”

The guidelines were written based on careful review of all existing research on treatment of cerebral edema (brain swelling), a common issue in patients with neurological injury. The publication provides practical, evidence-based recommendations for selecting and monitoring therapies to manage the conditions, she explained.

“Producing the guide required interprofessional collaboration, with a panel made up of medical doctors, nurse practitioners, and four pharmacists from around the country and Canada,” Tokumaru says. “We also had tremendous help from medical reference librarians, including Donna Ohora at UH Hilo’s Mookini Library.”

Carolyn Ma, dean of the pharmacy college, says authors were all nominated to be on the panel. “They all bring with them a high level of achievement in their respective fields within neurocritical care.”

Tokumaru is director of interprofessional education and development for UH Hilo’s pharmacy college, with a current practice site in the neuroscience intensive care unit at The Queen’s Medical Center on O‘ahu. She has worked as a clinical pharmacist in hospital ICUs in Kentucky and California, and taught at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Pharmacy prior to joining UH Hilo faculty in 2010.


Media release