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Robert J. Schwartzman

Robert J. Schwartzman, MD

Emeritus Professor

Department: Neurology


  • MD - University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia

Awards & Honors

  • Listed in "Best Doctors" (2009-2010, 2011-2012)
  • Humanitarian Award, the Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome Coalition of New England and the National RSD Society
  • Awarded by the International Research Foundation for RSD/CRPS for clinical teaching (2010)
  • Teacher recognition certificate given on behalf of the American Academy of Neurology and the AB Baker Section on Neurologic Education at the AAN Meeting (2007 and 2008)

Memberships / Professional Affiliations

  • Founding member, Scientific Advisory Board for the Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Association of America


  • Medical Residency - Duke University Hospital, Durham, NC
  • Neurology Residency - University of Pennsylvania


  • Neuromuscular Fellowship - National Institutes of Health

Dr. Schwartzman was an emeritus professor and former chair of the Department of Neurology at Drexel University College of Medicine. He came to the College of Medicine in 1995 as chairman of the Department of Neurology during the time of MCP Hahnemann University. He retired from clinical practice in 2013 but remained active as an author of several neurological reference books.

Dr. Schwartzman gained national recognition for his decades of medical practice, research and teaching. He served as the neurology residency training director for programs at three universities and the chairman of neurology at three institutions.

He received his undergraduate education at Harvard and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. His medical training was done at Duke University under the tutelage of Dr. Eugene A. Stead. He completed his neurology training at the University of Pennsylvania and his neuromuscular fellowship at the National Institutes of Health. He is board-certified in internal medicine and neurology.

He served as chairman of the Department of Neurology at Thomas Jefferson University from 1982 to 1995 and previously, as chief of neurology at the University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, from 1978 to 1982. Before that, he was an associate professor of neurology at the University of Miami from 1971 through 1978. He received teaching awards from all of the universities at which he served as well as national teaching awards in both neurology and anesthesiology.

In his 40-plus years of practicing medicine and teaching, Dr. Schwartzman trained over 350 residents; nearly 60 have become professors of neurology, and 10 have become chairs of neurology departments.

With colleagues at Jefferson, he founded the first complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) clinic in the country. He also established a pain research laboratory that demonstrated a major role of cytokines in CRPS. These pro-inflammatory factors are similar to those seen in COVID-19. The clinical group's efforts have delineated many clinical features of the disease and have led to an effective treatment for many with ketamine. The alleviation of pain was a significant component of Dr. Schwartzman's scholarly and clinical interests.

Dr. Schwartzman died of a heart attack at his home in Florida on August 4, 2021. He was 81.


Dr. Schwartzman's primary area of research interest was chronic pain, particularly complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS). His laboratory evaluated pro- and anti-inflammatory chemokines, cytokine, and their soluble receptors profile.

The pain group conducted clinical trials using drugs that inhibit the secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines and promote anti-inflammatory cytokines for the treatment of pain. They also evaluated the treatment of CRPS with intravenous ketamine (a dissociative anesthetic analgesic NMDA antagonist).

The research group established a means of evaluating a patient's pain condition through quantitative sensory testing (QST) and autonomic nervous system testing (ANST). These are techniques used to study disease progression or remission through precise measurement of vibrotactile, thermal detection thresholds, and thermal pain thresholds. The lab also had specialized expertise in neuropathic pain assessment techniques.

Dr. Schwartzman's 1982 paper on disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) was the first to demonstrate micro-thrombosis in diffuse organ systems and the central nervous system – a major pathology that is seen in COVID-19.

In the Media

"Drexel Physicians Named 'Top Docs' by Philadelphia Magazine"
(May 1, 2013)

"Drexel Physicians Named 'Top Docs' by Philadelphia Magazine"
(May 1, 2012)

Treating Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
Lifescript (June 23, 2011)


Optimizing the Treatment of CRPS With Ketamine
Kirkpatrick AF, Saghafi A, Yang K, Qiu P, Alexander J, Bavry E, and Schwartzman R
The Clinical Journal of Pain, 36(7), pp 516–523, 2020

miR-34a-mediated regulation of XIST in female cells under inflammation
Shenoda BB, Tian Y, Alexander GM, Aradillas-Lopez E, Schwartzman RJ, and Ajit SK
Journal of Pain Research, 11, pp 935–945, 2018

Analysis of Common Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms in Complex Regional Pain Syndrome: Genome Wide Association Study Approach and Pooled DNA Strategy
Janicki PK, Alexander GM, Eckert J, Postula M,Schwartzman RJ
Pain Med.17(12):2344-2352, 2016

Analgesic Response to Intravenous Ketamine Is Linked to a Circulating microRNA Signature in Female Patients With Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
Douglas SR, Shenoda BB, Qureshi RA, Sacan A, Alexander GM, Perreault M, Barrett JE, Aradillas-Lopez E, Schwartzman RJ, Ajit SK
J Pain.Sep;16(9):814-24, 2015

Plasma Exchange Therapy in Patients with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
Aradillas E, Schwartzman RJ, Grothusen JR, Goebel A and Alexander GM
Pain Physician. Jul-Aug;18(4). pp 383-94, 2015

Lenalidomide for Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Type 1: Lack of Efficacy in a Phase II Randomized Study
Manning DC, Alexander G, Arezzo JC, Cooper A, Harden RN, Oaklander AL, Raja SN, Rauck R, Schwartzman R
J Pain. 15(12) pp 1366-1376, 2014

Development and validation of a sensitive LC-MS/MS method for the determination of D-serine in human plasma
Xie Y, Alexander GM, Schwartzman RJ, Singh N, Torjman MC, Goldberg ME, Wainer IW, Moaddel R
J Pharm Biomed Anal, 89 pp 1-5, 2014

Thermal Pain in Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Type I
Grothusen JR, Alexander GM, Erwin K, Schwartzman RJ
Pain Physician, 17(1) pp 71-79, 2014

Plasma Amino Acids Changes in Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
Alexander GM, Reichenberger E, Peterlin BL, Perreault MJ, Grothusen JR, Schwartzman RJ
Pain Res Treat, 2013, pp 742407, 2013

Objective Sensory Evaluation of the Spread of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome"
Edinger L, Schwartzman RJ, Ahmad A, Erwin K, Alexander GM
Pain Physician, 16(6) pp 581-591. 2013

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome: Systemic Complications
Schwartzman RJ
Practical Pain Management, 13(3) pp 2-10, 2013

Systemic Complications of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
Schwartzman R
Neuroscience & Medicine, 3:225-242, 2012

Use of therapies other than disease-modifying agents, including complementary and alternative medicine, by patients with multiple sclerosis: a survey study
Stoll SS, Nieves C, Tabby DS, Schwartzman R
J Am Osteopath Assoc, Vol.112, No. 1, pp. 22-8, 2012

Neuropsychology and complex regional pain syndrome
Libon DJ, Alexander G, Schwartzman RJ
Pain, Vol.153, No. 5, pp. 1128, 2012

Skin biopsy in complex regional pain syndrome: case series and literature review
Kharkar S, Venkatesh YS, Grothusen JR, Rojas L, Schwartzman RJ
Pain Physician, Vol.15, No. 3, pp. 255-66, 2012

Changes in plasma cytokines and their soluble receptors in complex regional pain syndrome
Alexander GM, Peterlin BL, Perreault MJ, Grothusen JR, Schwartzman RJ
J Pain, Vol.13, No. 1, pp. 10-20, 2012

Syncope in complex regional pain syndrome
Smith JA, Karalis DG, Rosso AL, Grothusen JR, Hessen SE, Schwartzman RJ
Clin Cardiol, Vol.34, No. 4, pp. 222-5, 2011

The use of ketamine in complex regional pain syndrome: possible mechanisms
Schwartzman RJ, Alexander GM, Grothusen J
Expert Rev Neurother, Vol.11, No. 5, pp. 719-34, 2011

Elevated blood levels of inflammatory monocytes (CD14(+) CD16(+)) in patients with complex regional pain syndrome
Ritz BW, Alexander GM, Nogusa S, Perreault MJ, Peterlin BL, Grothusen JR, Schwartzman RJ
Clin Exp Immunol, Vol.164, No. 1, pp. 108-17, 2011

MicroRNA modulation in complex regional pain syndrome
Orlova IA, Alexander GM, Qureshi RA, Sacan A, Graziano A, Barrett JE, Schwartzman RJ, Ajit SK
J Transl Med, Vol.9, No. 1, pp. 195, 2011

Intramuscular botulinum toxin in complex regional pain syndrome: case series and literature review
Kharkar S, Ambady P, Venkatesh Y, Schwartzman RJ
Pain Physician, Vol.14, No. 5, pp. 419-24, 2011

Complex regional pain syndrome with associated chest wall dystonia: a case report
Irwin DJ, Schwartzman RJ
Journal of brachial plexus and peripheral nerve injury, Vol.6, pp. 6, 2011

Laser Doppler imaging: usefulness in chronic pain medicine
Grothusen JR, Schwartzman RJ
Pain Physician, Vol.14, No. 5, pp. 491-8, 2011

Enantioselective pharmacokinetics of (R)- and (S)-ketamine after a 5-day infusion in patients with complex regional pain syndrome
Goldberg ME, Torjman MC,Schwartzman RJ, Mager DE, Wainer IW
Chirality, Vol.23, No. 2, pp. 138-43, 2011

Kinesigenic Dyskinesia in a Case of Voltage-Gated Potassium Channel-Complex Protein Antibody Encephalitis
Aradillas E, Schwartzman RJ
Arch Neurol, Vol.68, No. 4, pp. 529-32, 2011.

Acute loss of spatial navigational skills in a case of a right posterior hippocampus stroke
Aradillas E, Libon DJ, Schwartzman RJ
J Neurol Sci, Vol.308, No. 1-2, pp. 144-6, 2011

Deconstructing Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
Schwartzman RJ

Practical Pain Management, March 2010

Response to Drs. Bell and Moore commentary regarding the use of intravenous ketamine for CRPS
Schwartzman RJ
Pain, Vol.151, No. 2, pp. 554-5; author reply 6-7, 2010

The natural history of complex regional pain syndrome
Schwartzman RJ,Erwin KL, Alexander GM
Clin J Pain, Vol.25, No. 4, 2009, pp. 273-80, 2009

Neurologic Complications of Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation
Schwartzman RJ, Hill JB
Neurology, 32:791-797, 1982

Book Chapters

Pathophysiology of complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS)
Schwartzman RJ
In: Practical Guide to Chronic Pain Syndromes, Jay GW, editor. New York: Informa Healthcare; 2010
ISBN: 9781420080452

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
Schwartzman RJ
In: Encyclopedia of Movement Disorders, Verhagen L, Kompoliti K, editors. Boston, MA: Elsevier; 2010


Neurologic Examination
Schwartzman RJ: First edn. Malden, Mass.: Blackwell Pub.; 2006. Second Printing 2020
ISBN: 978-1-7345967-3-1 (softback)
ISBN: 978-1-7345967-2-4 (eBook)

Differential Diagnosis in Neurology
Schwartzman RJ: Amsterdam; Washington, DC: IOS Press; 2006. Revised Second Edition, 2019
ISBN: (9781614999669)

Diagnostic Guide toClinical Pain (in progress)
Schwartzman RJ