Nicholson, Donna

Dr. Nicholson is an anesthesiologist and assistant professor at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute.


 Dr. Nicholson completed a clinical fellowship in cardiac anesthesia at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute in 2003, receiving the Wilbert J. Keon Award for trainee excellence.   Upon completion of her fellowship, she joined the medical staff of the Heart Institute.  Dr. Nicholson’s training includes specialization in perioperative transesophageal echocardiography (TEE), for which she is certified by National Board of Echocardiography.  Dr. Nicholson is a member of the OHI Board Quality Committee, the OHI Mortality Committee, and the University of Ottawa Department of Anesthesia Resident Program Committee.  She is the OHI Resident Site Coordinator for the Department of Anesthesia.  Prior to joining the Heart Institute, Dr. Nicholson was an anesthesiologist at the Health Sciences Center and lecturer at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Dr. Nicholson earned her Doctor of Medicine in 1995 from the University of Manitoba, and became a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (Anesthesia) in 2000.  She was recognized by St. Boniface General Hospital in Winnipeg as Anesthesia Resident of the Year in 2000.  Dr. Nicholson also received a Master of Science (Pharmacology) degree from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, as well as a Bachelor of Science (Honours) degree from Queens University in Kingston, Ontario.

Research and clinical interests

Dr. Nicholson’s expertise is in caring for, and teaching others how to care for, high-risk cardiac patients undergoing complicated procedures such as pulmonary thromboendarterectomies, percutaneous aortic valve replacements, complex valve operations, and adult congenital heart procedures.



  • Rubens, F.D., Bourke, M., Hynes, M., Nicholson, D., Kotrec, M., Boodhwani, M., Ruel, M., Dennie C., Mesana, T. Surgery for Chronic Thromboembolic Pulmonary Hypertension – Inclusive Experience from a National Referral Center. Ann Thorac Surg 2007; 83: 1075-81.
  • Mesana, T., Ibrahim, M., Kulik, A., Ruel, M., Dover, K., Nicholson, D., and Hynes, M. The “hybrid flip-over technique: for anterior leaflet prolapse repair. Ann Thorac Surg. 2007 Jan; 83(1):322–3.
  • Kulik, A., Labinez, M., Beauchesne, L., Nicholson, D., Bedard, P. Hybrid repair of mitral paravalvular leak: open surgical placement of a percutaneous occluder device. J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2006 Dec; 132(6): 1469-70.
  • Boodhwani, M., Hynes, M., Nicholson, D., Mesana, T. Early experience with complex mitral valve repair combined with radiofrequency ablation. Can J Cardiol 2003 Oct:19 suppl A:222A.
  • Nicholson, D.J., Kowalski, S.E., Hamilton, G.A., Meyers, M.P., Serrette, C., and Duke, P.C.: Post-operative pulmonary function in CABG patients undergoing early tracheal extubation: a comparison between short term mechanical ventilation and immediate extubation. J Cardiothorac Vasc Anesth. 2002 Feb;16(1):27-31.


  • Sawynok, J., Nicholson, D.J., Sweeney, M.I. and White, T.D.: Adenosine release by morphine and spinal antinociception: Role of G proteins and cyclic AMP. NIDA Res. Monogr. 105: 40-46, 1991.
  • Nicholson, D., Reid, A. and Sawynok, J.: Effects of forskolin and phosphodiesterase inhibitors on the spinal antinociception action of morphine. Pharmacol. Biochem. Behav. 38(4): 753-758, 1991.
  • Sawynok, J., Sweeney, M., Nicholson, D. and White, T.: Pertussis toxin inhibits morphine-induced release of adenosine from the spinal cord. Prog. Clin. Biol. Res. 328: 397-400, 1990.
  • Nicholson, D., White, T.D., and Sawynok, J.: Forskolin and phosphodiesterase inhibitors release adenosine but inhibit morphine-evoked release of adenosine from spinal cord synaptosomes. Can. J. Physiol. Pharmacol. 69(6): 877-885, 1990.
  • Nicholson, D., White, T.D. and Sawynok, J.: Role of cyclic AMP in release of adenosine by morphine from the spinal cord. Soc. Neurosci. Abstracts 15: 233, 1989.
  • Nicholson, D. and Sawynok, J.: Role of adenylate cyclase in spinal antinociception produced by morphine, noradrenaline and baclofen. Soc. Neurosci. Abstracts 14: 712, 1988.
Donna Nicholson

Nicholson, Donna

Nicholson, Donna


Appointments and affiliations

Anesthesiologist, Division of Cardiac Anesthesiology
University of Ottawa Heart Institute

Assistant Professor, Department of Anesthesiology
University of Ottawa