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Department of Surgery

Garth Harrison Utter, M.D., M.Sc. View profile as PDF

Garth Harrison Utter

Clinical Interests

Dr. Utter has clinical expertise in the fields of trauma surgery, emergency general surgery, and critical care. He has active research interests in the optimal circumstances for chest tube removal, the effectiveness of counseling techniques in reducing problematic drinking behavior, the survival of donor blood cells following transfusion (called "micro chimerism"), the influence of blood transfusion on outcomes from traumatic brain injury, and indicators of the quality of health care. He has participated in extramurally funded projects on the topics of alcohol-related counseling (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation), microchimerism (National Institutes of Health), and quality of care indicators (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality).


Associate Professor of Surgery



Division of Trauma, Acute Care Surgery and Surgical Critical Care

Center/Program Affiliation:

Trauma Program


UC Davis Medical Center
UC Davis Medical Center - Trauma, Acute Care Surgery and Surgical Critical Care
2315 Stockton Blvd.
Sacramento, CA 95817
Driving Directions
Phone: 800-2-UCDAVIS (800-282-3284)

Additional Phone:

Clinic Phone: 916-734-2680
Physician Referrals: 800-4-UCDAVIS (800-482-3284)


M.D., UC San Francisco School of Medicine, San Francisco, California, 1997
A.B., UC Berkeley, Berkeley, California, 1992


UC Davis Medical Center, Sacramento, California, 1998


UC Davis Medical Center, Sacramento, California, 2003


Harborview Medical Center, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, 2005

Board Certifications:

American Board of Surgery, 2004
American Board of Surgery - Surgical Critical Care, 2005

Professional Memberships:

American Association for the Surgery of Trauma
American Society of Hematology
Association of Academic Surgeons
Pacific Coast Surgical Association
Surgical Outcomes Club
UC Davis Center for Healthcare Policy and Research

Select Honors and Awards:

Scott Murphy Lecture, Biomedical Excellence for Safer Transfusion Collaborative, 2007

2nd place (clinical category), Region IX Resident Paper Competition, American College of Surgeons, Committee on Trauma, 2001

2nd place (clinical category), Region IX Resident Paper Competition, American College of Surgeons, Committee on Trauma, 2000

Select Recent Publications:

Young JB, Utter GH, Yang Y, Schermer CR, Galante JM, Phan HH, Anderson BA, Scherer LA.  Normal saline versus Plasma-Lyte A in initial resuscitation of trauma patients: a randomized controlled trial. Ann Surg.  2014

Yang Y, Young JB, Schermer CR, Utter GH.  Use of ketorolac is associated with decreased likelihood of pneumonia following rib fractures.  Am J Surg. 2013.

Jackman RP, Deng X, Bolgiano D, Utter GH, Schechterly C, Lebedeva M, Heitman JW, Operskalski E, Luban, NL, Alter H, Busch MP, Slichter S, Norris PJ.  Leukoreduction and UV treatment reduce both the magnitude and duration of the anti-HLA antibody response.  Transfusion.  2013

Shah M, Galante JM, Scherer LA, Utter GH.  The utility of laparoscopic evaluation of the parietal peritoneum in the management of anterior abdominal stab wounds.  Injury.  2014; 45:128-133.

Utter GH.  The rate of pleural fluid drainage as a criterion for the timing of chest tube removal: Theoretical and practical considerations.  Ann Thorac Surg. 2013; 96:2262-2267.

Utter GH, Zrelak PA, Baron R, Tancredi DJ, Sadeghi B, Geppert JJ, Romano PS.  Detecting postoperative hemorrhage or hematoma from administrative data: The performance of the AHRQ Patient Safety Indicator.  Surgery.  2013;154:1117-1125.

Utter GH, Cox GL, Owens PL, Romano PS.  Challenges and opportunities with ICD-10-CM/PCS: Implications for surgical research involving administrative data.  J Am Coll Surg.  2013; 217:516-526.

Zrelak PA, Romano PS, Tancredi DJ, Geppert JJ, Utter GH.  Validity of the AHRQ. Patient Safety Indicator for Postoperative Physiologic and Metabolic Derangement based on a national sample of medical records.  Med Care.  2013;51:806–811.

Edgren G, Almqvist R, Hartman M, Utter GH.  Splenectomy and the risk of sepsis: A population-based cohort study.  Ann Surg.  2013.

To see if Garth Harrison Utter is accepting new patients, or for assistance finding a UC Davis doctor, please call 800-2-UCDAVIS (800-282-3284).