Garth Utter, M.D., M.Sc.

Garth Harrison Utter, M.D., M.Sc.


  • Associate Professor of Surgery


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).

UC Davis Medical Center

2315 Stockton Blvd.
Sacramento, CA 95817
Driving Directions

Primary Phone:
800-2-UCDAVIS (800-282-3284)

Additional Phone Numbers

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

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).


Division of Trauma, Acute Care Surgery and Surgical Critical Care
General Surgery

Center/Program Affiliation

Trauma Program


M.D., UC San Francisco School of Medicine, San Francisco, California, 1997

A.B., UC Berkeley, Berkeley, California, 1992

Internship: 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

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.