Helga Komen, MD

Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology

Helga joined the Department of Anesthesiology with a vision of broadening her clinical expertise and pursuing an academic career. She completed medical studies and residency training in Rijeka, Croatia. After 10 years of practice, she transferred to St. Louis, in 2014, where she was recruited by the Vice-Chancellor for Research at that time, and has enjoyed the combination of clinical practice, teaching, and research that WashU offers.

Her area of expertise is ENT Anesthesia, particularly in difficult airway. She is teaching anesthesia residents best airway management techniques and pertinent ENT anesthesia strategies on a daily basis. She spends 80 percent of her clinical time working with residents. Helga successfully organized several difficult airway refresher courses for faculty and is planning more to come.

Helga’s research interests include long-acting opioids, low-flow anesthesia and sustainability in anesthesia practice, and difficult airway management and quality improvement. Helga conducted a groundbreaking study of the usage of long-acting opioids for outpatient procedures, which was successfully published in Anesthesia&Analgesia. She is presently working on a low-flow anesthesia data set that is showing exceptional results of sustainability and cost savings. 

Helga is enrolled in the Executive MBA Program at Olin Business School in the Class of 2023. She wants to broaden her knowledge and skills for a business and leadership environment. Helga is a member of the Admissions Committee and Case Review Committee (CRC). 

Helga is a mom of two wonderful children, Fran, 23, and Karla, 20, and they both are studying business. Outside of work, Helga enjoys Architecture and Music. Whenever she travels, she always manages to find an architectural jewel of the place. Music is one of the ways how she relaxes, and she never misses concerts by her favorite bands, Incognito and Roosevelt.