Stroke in the News
Mobile Stroke Unit Expands Operations to Monroe County
Wednesday, August 21, 2019
The UR Medicine Mobile Stroke Unit (MSU) is now being dispatched to provide stroke care to patients throughout Monroe County. The MSU had been operating on a pilot basis in the City of Rochester since its launch in October 2018.
The MSU, which is operated in partnership with American Medical Response (AMR) and is the only unit of its kind in upstate New York, serves as an “emergency department on wheels” and brings the medical expertise and technology necessary to diagnose and treat stroke directly to the patient. Immediate care is essential during a stroke, during which millions of brain cells die every minute. However, if caught early, many stroke victims can make a full recovery.
It is estimated that 3,000 people in Monroe County suffer from a stroke every year. Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death and the number one cause of long-term disability in the U.S.
The MSU is equipped with a portable CT scanner that scans the patient’s brain to determine the type of stroke they are experiencing. These scans and results from a mobile lab on the unit are transmitted to stroke experts at UR Medicine’s Comprehensive Stroke Center at Strong Memorial Hospital, who consult via an on board teleconferencing system with the EMS personnel and determine if treatment – in the form of the clot busting drug tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) – can be administered immediately on scene.
“The ability to diagnose and start care in a patient’s driveway is a game changer for our region,” said Tarun Bhalla, M.D., Ph.D., Chief of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Surgery at the UR Medicine Comprehensive Stroke Center and director of the Mobile Stroke Unit initiative. “We are grateful to our partners in the EMS community for their cooperation in making this lifesaving technology available to stroke patients across Monroe County.”
“The sooner patients receive care, the more likely they are to return to their lives,” said Curtis Benesch, M.D., M.P.H., Chief of Stroke and Medical Director of the UR Medicine Comprehensive Stroke Center. “The time saved by delivering care directly to a stroke patient on scene can mean the difference between recovery of function or a lifetime of disability.”
The MSU is dispatched by the City of Rochester/Monroe County 9-1-1 Emergency Communications Center in coordination with the following EMS agencies:
- Brighton Volunteer Ambulance
- Churchville Fire Department Rescue Squad
- CHS Mobile Integrated Health Care (Chili, Henrietta, Scottsville, Caledonia)
- Gates Volunteer Ambulance
- Greece Volunteer Ambulance
- Hilton Fire Department Ambulance
- Honeoye Falls-Mendon Volunteer Ambulance
- Irondequoit Ambulance
- Monroe Ambulance
- Northeast Quadrant Advanced Life Support
- Penfield Volunteer Emergency Ambulance Service
- Perinton Ambulance
- Pittsford Volunteer Ambulance
- Point Pleasant Fire Department Ambulance
- Rush Fire Department Ambulance
- RIT Ambulance
- Seabreeze Fire Department Ambulance
- Union Hill Volunteer Ambulance
- Webster Emergency Medical Services
“AMR is proud to partner with the University of Rochester and Monroe County to expand the available care options in Monroe County,” said Tim Frost, regional director for AMR Western New York. “We are focused on providing the best possible care for the communities we serve, and bringing this new technology to the area is a testament to that.”Read More: Mobile Stroke Unit Expands Operations to Monroe County
New Multi-Institutional Partnership to Focus on Stroke Rehabilitation
Monday, May 20, 2019
The University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC), Burke Neurological Institute, and Wadsworth Center of the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) have been awarded a $5 million grant from the Empire State Development Corporation to speed the development of ground-breaking neurological treatments for those disabled from stroke.
The project is a part of the NeuroCuresNY (NCNY) initiative, a new non-profit formed by the three institutions to accelerate the discovery of novel treatments for chronic neurological impairment and disability. The new state funding will support a two-year pilot study that will be launched in January 2020. This study design will be unique because it will test the efficacy of state-of-the-art robotic-assisted rehabilitation technology combined with drugs to improve the functional recovery of stroke patients.
Neurological conditions such as stroke, traumatic brain injury and spinal cord injury permanently disable more than one million people each year in the U.S., and stroke is the nation’s leading cause of disability. Clinical trials for neurological disabilities and impairments are usually passed over because of unclear results, high costs, and challenges in recruiting participants. NCNY will seek to lower the barriers to participation in clinical trials by assisting with travel funding for patients, while providing a supportive and guiding environment for patients and their families.
Clinical and research faculty from URMC Departments of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation will collaborate with the UR Neurorestoration Institute during the pilot study.Read More: New Multi-Institutional Partnership to Focus on Stroke Rehabilitation
Mobile Stroke Unit puts Rochester among nation's fastest for stroke response
Tuesday, March 12, 2019
After actor Luke Perry died of a stroke last week, there has been an increased interest in learning about and preventing strokes.
Six months after UR Medicine launched the first mobile stroke unit in New York outside of New York City, patients are being treated within minutes, instead of hours.
The first steps to take for any potential stroke patient are to undergo a brain scan and then be given a life-saving drug called TPA.
The national standard response time for those steps to be administered is just under 60 minutes. With UR Medicine, they averaged about 50 minutes.
But when the Mobile Stroke Unit was brought in, UR Medicine cut its response time down to nine minutes. That is among the fastest in the nation.
"This is progress, but I think we can do better," said Dr. Tarun Bhalla, director of the Stroke and Cerebrovascular Services at UR Medicine. “I think the full potential of this unit has yet to realized. We’re still in the pilot phase and we’re gonna continue to push the envelope.”
Dr. Bhalla said the ambulance is also sparking discussion about recognizing the signs and symptoms of a stroke. Strokes are commonly referred to as "brain attacks" caused by a blocked or burst blood vessel.
"Learn to recognize the signs of a stroke," Dr. Bhalla said "If you see someone with weakness in their face or arm or has speech difficulty, realize that time is of the essence and you need to call 911 immediately to get to your local emergency room.”
The UR Mobile Stroke Unit is an emergency room on wheels. A specialized crew on board performs CT scans, blood tests, and administers life-saving medicines before arriving at the hospital.
Time saved means fewer dead brain cells - and that can mean a world of difference to stroke patients.Read More: Mobile Stroke Unit puts Rochester among nation's fastest for stroke response
UR Medicine Unveils Upstate New York’s First Mobile Stroke Unit
Thursday, September 27, 2018
Next month, UR Medicine will begin operation of a Mobile Stroke Unit (MSU), a high-tech ‘emergency room on wheels’ that is designed to provide life-saving care to stroke victims. The $1 million unit will be operated in partnership with AMR as a community resource and represents a significant step forward for stroke care in the Rochester region.
While the MSU resembles an ambulance on the outside, inside it contains highly specialized staff, equipment, and medications used to diagnose and treat strokes. The unit is equipped with a portable CT scanner that is capable of imaging the patient’s brain to detect the type of stroke they are experiencing. The scans and results from a mobile lab on the unit are wirelessly transmitted to UR Medicine stroke specialists at Strong Memorial Hospital, who will consult with the on board EMS staff via telemedicine and decide if they can begin treatment immediately on scene.
If it is determined that the patient is experiencing an ischemic stroke – which account for approximately 90 percent of all strokes – the MSU team can administer the drug tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) to attempt to break up the clot in the patient’s brain. While en route to the hospital, UR Medicine specialists will continue to remotely monitor and assess the patient’s symptoms.
“The UR Medicine Mobile Stroke Unit essentially brings the hospital to the patient,” said neurosurgeon Tarun Bhalla, M.D., Ph.D., with the UR Medicine Comprehensive Stroke Center. “This unit will improve care and outcomes by shortening the gap between diagnosis and treatment and enable us to initiate care before the patient reaches the hospital.”
It is estimated that 3,000 people in Monroe County suffer from a stroke every year. Stroke is the fifth leading cause of death and the number one cause of long-term disability in the U.S. However, if caught early, many stroke victims can make a full recovery.
“Ten years ago we realized there was an epidemic of stroke in our community which resulted in tremendous human suffering and health care costs,” said Web Pilcher, M.D., Ph.D., chair of the UR Medicine Department of Neurosurgery. “We decided to embark on a long-term plan to provide the best stroke care in upstate New York. The Mobile Stroke Unit represents the next evolution in that effort and places Rochester among an elite list of communities with this cutting-edge technology.”
The current best treatment for stroke is tPA. But in order to work properly, the drug must be given within four and half hours of the first stroke symptoms. Depending upon the circumstances, doctors may also elect to perform a minimally invasive endovascular surgical procedure that involves threading a catheter through the blood vessels and physically removing the obstruction in the brain. The capabilities provided by the MSU to diagnose, start treatment, and prepare hospital staff to receive the patient before they arrive at the emergency department will save lives and improve chances of recovery.
“In stroke care, time equals brain,” said neurologist Curtis Benesch, M.D., M.P.H., with the UR Medicine Comprehensive Stroke Center. “The approximately 30 minutes that could be saved by the Mobile Stroke Unit by starting treatment before a stroke patient reaches the hospital could mean the difference between the recovery of function or a lifetime of impairment.”
“Patients who receive tPA sooner are more likely to go home and retain the ability to walk and care for themselves,” said Bob Holloway, M.D., M.P.H., chair of the UR Medicine Department of Neurology. “The Mobile Stroke Unit will improve outcomes for stroke victims in our community and, because people with less disability use fewer health care resources, lower costs in the long term.”
The unit is owned by UR Medicine and will be operated by AMR. The MSU will be staffed by a UR Medicine nurse trained in stroke care and a CT technician, an AMR paramedic and emergency medical technician, and remotely by a stroke specialist at UR Medicine.
The construction and operating costs of the unit, which was custom built by Frazer Ltd. in Houston, are being funded by UR Medicine and philanthropy, including a lead gift from Elena Prokupets and support from the Del Monte family and other donors in the Rochester community.
“We are extremely grateful to Elena for her gift to the School of Medicine and Dentistry, which has made it possible to bring this life saving technology to Rochester,” said Mark Taubman, M.D., CEO of the University of Rochester Medical Center. “Her generosity, along with the support of many others, has provided us the resources to invest in the infrastructure, technology, and clinical talent necessary to provide the most advanced stroke care to our community.”
The MSU is part of a broader UR Medicine initiative to bring state-of-the-art stroke care to the region. This includes Strong Memorial Hospital’s designation as the region’s only Comprehensive Stroke Center by the Joint Commission, a certification that indicates that the hospital either meets or exceeds the highest standards of care required to provide timely, advanced, and coordinated care to patients with cerebrovascular disease, and the Neuromedicine Intensive Care Unit, a 12-bed ICU that provides care to critically ill patients with complex neurological life threating illnesses such as stroke. UR Medicine stroke specialists also provide 24/7 consultation services for emergency department personnel in several hospitals in the region via telemedicine.
Eight years ago, UR Medicine, in partnership with the Greater Rochester Health Foundation, created the Stroke Treatment Alliance of Rochester/New York (STAR-NY), to educate medical professionals and the broader community about stroke recognition and prevention.Read More: UR Medicine Unveils Upstate New York’s First Mobile Stroke Unit
AHA Grants Will Accelerate Search for New Stroke Therapies
Wednesday, June 27, 2018
A series of awards from the American Heart Association (AHA) to a team of researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) will focus on the development of new treatments to thwart the damage in the brain caused by stroke.
One of the research projects brings together experts in stroke, cardiovascular biology, platelet biology, and peptide chemistry. Marc Halterman, M.D., Ph.D., with the URMC Center for Neurotherapeutics Discovery, Scott Cameron, M.D., Ph.D., and Craig Morrell, D.V.M., Ph.D., with the URMC Aab Cardiovascular Research Institute, and Bradley Nilsson, Ph.D., with the University of Rochester Department of Chemistry will focus on the role that platelets play in acute brain injury and inflammation during stroke.
Platelets serve an important role in protecting against blood loss and repairing injured blood vessels. However, during a stroke the inflammatory properties of platelets can interfere with the restoration of blood flow once the clot in the brain is removed, particularly in micro-vessels, which can lead to permanent damage of brain tissue.
The research team will build synthetic peptides that activate platelets to study the phenomenon – which is called no-reflow – in an effort to identify specific switches within platelets that can be turned off and limit the cells’ inflammatory functions without blocking their ability to prevent bleeding.
Two AHA pre-doctoral fellowship awards Kathleen Gates and Jonathan Bartko in Halterman’s lab will support research that examines the link between an immune system response triggered by stroke in the lungs that can exacerbate damage in the brain and investigate the cellular mechanisms that determine whether or not brain cells die following stroke.
A final AHA award to the Halterman lab will seek to identify new drug targets by focusing on specific proteins activated during stroke that are suspected to play an important role in determining the survival of neurons.
Collectively, the AHA Collaborative Sciences Award, Pre-Doctoral, and Innovation awards represent $1.09 million in funding.Read More: AHA Grants Will Accelerate Search for New Stroke Therapies
UR Medicine Recognized for Excellence in Stroke Care
Monday, June 11, 2018
The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association (AHA/ASA) has once again honored the UR Medicine Strong Memorial Hospital for having achieved the highest standard of care for stroke. This award identifies hospitals that provide care that can speed the recovery and reduce death and disability for stroke patients.
Strong Memorial Hospital has received the 2018 AHA/ASA Get With The Guidelines program’s Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award. The hospital was also recognized for the Target: Stroke Honor Role Elite Plus designation, which identifies hospitals that have consistently and successfully reduced door-to-needle time – the window of time between a stroke victim’s arrival at the hospital, the diagnosis of an acute ischemic stroke, and the administration of the clot-busting drug tPA. If given intravenously in the first four and a half hours after the start of stroke symptoms, tPA has been shown to significantly reduce the effects of stroke and lessen the chance of permanent disability.Read More: UR Medicine Recognized for Excellence in Stroke Care
Neurology and Neurosurgery Earn Top 50 Ranking in U.S. News & World Report's 'Best Hospitals'
Wednesday, August 9, 2017
Strong Memorial Hospital’s Neurology and Neurosurgery specialty program has been ranked among the top 50 in the nation for 2017-2018 by U.S. News & World Report. The program ranked 39th among the nation’s hospitals, and this is the seventh consecutive year it has been nationally ranked by U.S. News.
In June, UR Medicine’s Golisano Children’s Hospital was recognized as one of the nation’s best children’s hospitals in three specialty areas — Neonatology, Nephrology, and Neurology and Neurosurgery — in the U.S. News & World Report’s Best Children’s Hospital rankings.
For the 2017-18 adult rankings, U.S. News evaluated more than 4,500 U.S. hospitals; only 152 were ranked in at least one specialty.
Eight Strong Memorial Hospital specialty programs earned High Performing ratings: Cardiology and Heart Surgery, Diabetes and Endocrinology, Gastroenterology and GI Surgery, Geriatrics, Nephrology, Orthopaedics, Pulmonology, and Urology.
U.S. News recognized hospitals that were high-performing across multiple areas of care and ranked them within their states and by metropolitan areas. U.S. News rated Strong Memorial as the top hospital in the Rochester Metro area and fourth among New York state hospitals.
U.S. News evaluates nearly 5,000 hospitals nationwide for its Best Hospitals rankings; methodologies include objective measures such as patient survival, the number of times a given procedure is performed, infection rates, adequacy of nurse staffing and more.
Read More: Neurology and Neurosurgery Earn Top 50 Ranking in U.S. News & World Report's 'Best Hospitals'
Surviving a Stroke Propels Career in Brain Research
Wednesday, July 26, 2017
Left to right: Brad Mahon, Frank Garcea, and Edward Vates
On a warm day in July 2005, Frank Garcea’s soccer playing days came to an abrupt end when he suffered what could have been a deadly stroke during a practice with his teammates. Instead, the events of that day and his subsequent treatment – which serve as the basis for a review published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) – set him on a career path that would ultimately lead to a Ph.D. studying how the brain recovers from injury.
Garcea, who was about to begin his senior year at the Aquinas Institute in Rochester, was in the middle of a training session when he started experiencing a pounding headache. He first suspected he might just be dehydrated on that hot summer day, but soon after his limbs began to tingle and grow numb, his eyes became sensitive to the bright sunlight, and he had difficulty walking. Very quickly it became obvious that something was wrong and someone called 911.
Garcea eventually ended up at Strong Memorial Hospital and was diagnosed with a subarachnoid hemorrhage. He would undergo surgery the next morning under the clinical care of UR Medicine neurosurgeon Edward Vates, M.D., Ph.D.
Subarachnoid hemorrhages account for approximately 5-10 percent of all strokes in the U.S. These occur when a blood vessel in the brain bursts causing bleeding. If not treated immediately, these strokes can cause major disability and, in many cases, death.
“When an aneurysm ruptures, it is an intracranial catastrophe,” said Vates, a co-author of the NEJM article. “In 25 to 50 percent of cases, these strokes result in death, and this estimate does not fully account for patients who die before receiving medical attention.”
Vates uses Garcea’s experience as jumping off point to describe the decision-making process required to diagnose and identify treatment options for subarachnoid hemorrhages. Read More: Surviving a Stroke Propels Career in Brain Research
UR Medicine Recognized for Stroke Care
Tuesday, June 27, 2017
The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association (AHA/ASA) has once again honored the UR Medicine Strong Memorial Hospital as having met its highest standards of care for stroke.
Strong Memorial Hospital has received the AHA/ASA Get With The Guidelines program’s Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award. The hospital was also tapped for the Target: Stroke Honor Role Elite Plus, which recognizes hospitals that have consistently and successfully reduced door-to-needle time – the window of time between a stroke victim’s arrival at the hospital, the diagnosis of an acute ischemic stroke, and the administration of the clot-busting drug tPA. If given intravenously in the first three hours after the start of stroke symptoms, tPA has been shown to significantly reduce the effects of stroke and lessen the chance of permanent disability.
“This recognition is a testament to the hard work of our outstanding team of nurses, physicians, and therapists and their dedication to provide the highest quality of care to stroke victims,” said neurologist Curtis Benesch, M.D., M.P.H., the medical director of the UR Medicine Comprehensive Stroke Center.
“This award reflects a singular focus on improving the care stroke victims receive from the first 911 call to when they arrive at the hospital through operating room, neurocritical care, and rehabilitation,” said Tarun Bhalla, M.D., Ph.D., the surgical director of the Comprehensive Stroke Center.
Strong Memorial Hospital is home to the region’s only Comprehensive Stroke Center, a designation by the Joint Commission that indicates that the hospital either meets or exceeds the highest standards of care required to provide timely and comprehensive care to patients with complex cerebrovascular disease.
The AHA/ASA Get With the Guidelines program recognizes hospitals that have reached aggressive goals of treating stroke patients and comply with core standard levels of care. For more information about the Get With The Guidelines program, visit the AHA/ASA website. Read More: UR Medicine Recognized for Stroke Care
Protein Key to Nerve Health Hitches a Ride on Brain’s Garbage Truck
Thursday, March 9, 2017
A new study shows that the brain’s waste removal system serves as both trash collector and delivery service, providing neurons with a protein important to maintaining cognitive function while simultaneously cleaning brain tissue. The research may help explain why different genetic varieties of the protein, called apolipoprotein E (apoE), can indicate risk for Alzheimer’s disease or promote longevity.
The study was led by Rashid Deane, B.Sc., Ph.D., a research professor in the University of Rochester Medical Center Department of Neurosurgery and member of the Center for Translational Neuromedicine, and appears in the journal Molecular Neurodegeneration.
ApoE is responsible for delivering cholesterol to nerve cells in the brain and plays a key role in synaptic plasticity, the process by which neurons build new connections in order to learn and store memories.Read More: Protein Key to Nerve Health Hitches a Ride on Brain’s Garbage Truck
Study: Home Care Improves Stroke Outcomes
Thursday, March 2, 2017
Stroke patients who are paired with caregivers that help them transition back
to their homes are significantly less likely to be readmitted to the hospital. The results of the pilot study, which showed a 39 percent reduction in the readmission rates of stroke patients at Strong Memorial Hospital, were presented last week
at the International Stroke Conference in Texas.
The study was authored by Ann M. Leonhardt Caprio, M.S., R.N., A.N.P. and Curtis G. Benesch, M.D., M.P.H. with the UR Medicine Comprehensive Stroke Center, and Denise Burgen, M.B.A.,
M.S.N., F.N.P, R.N. with UR Medicine Home Care.
The study focused on one of the measures used by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to determine quality of stroke care – whether or not a patient is readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of being discharged after suffering a stroke.Read More: Study: Home Care Improves Stroke Outcomes
Faculty Reflect on SMH Stroke Center Highlighted in Super Bowl Ad
Wednesday, February 1, 2017
A new ad that will premiere during the Super Bowl focuses on Strong Memorial Hospital’s Comprehensive Stroke Center. You can watch it here. We asked neurologist Curtis Benesch, M.D., M.P.H., and neurosurgeon Tarun Bhalla, M.D., Ph.D., about UR Medicine’s stroke care and what is being done to improve access for patients across the region.
What does SMH’s designation by the Joint Commission and American Heart Association/American Stroke Association as a Comprehensive Stroke Center mean?
Benesch: Designation as a Comprehensive Stroke Center indicates that our center either meets or exceeds the highest standards of care required to provide timely and comprehensive care to patients with complex cerebrovascular disease. Our site has undergone rigorous site visits and annual reviews by the Joint Commission to ensure that we satisfy all the requirements for this designation, including metrics for primary stroke care, surgical stroke care, endovascular care, critical care, longitudinal outpatient care, research, education and outreach.
How does this designation differentiate the hospital from other stroke centers?
Bhalla: All Comprehensive Stroke Centers must provide neurosurgical care, endovascular care, and neuro-critical care. These efforts are enabled in part by a well-established interdisciplinary infrastructure of exemplary stroke care (EMS, emergency medicine, nursing, therapy, and rehabilitation). Although other sites in the region may provide some of these aspects of care, UR Medicine is the only certified Comprehensive Stroke Center in Rochester, reflecting our willingness to submit to the scrutiny of external review to ensure we meet those high standards. It is not just a label but rather a public affirmation of the breadth and depth of a large multidisciplinary team of providers working together.
What is being done to extend stroke care across the health system? For example, if you are a stroke patient and you arrive at a regional hospital supported by UR Medicine, what does that mean for the care you receive?
Benesch: We support all of our regional partners with immediate availability of consultations with experts in Cerebrovascular Neurosurgery, Stroke Neurology, and Neurocritical care. These experts can help in acute treatment decisions and, with our transfer center, can facilitate transfer of patients to Strong Memorial Hospital as needed. Furthermore, we have developed a coverage model to provide 24/7 telestroke consultation to hospitals across the region in an effort to enhance acute stroke care.
Providing timely, appropriate, and comprehensive care for stroke patients requires a high level of coordination and collaboration among caregivers. What is necessary to facilitate communication, coordination, and continuity of care across the team?
Bhalla: First and foremost, the team has to believe in the concept that the more of a difference that we can make up front, the better a stroke patient will fare in the long run. The care they receive from the first 911 call to when they arrive at the hospital is only the beginning of a journey that continues through operating room, neurocritical care, and rehabilitation and is one that will determine how much function a stroke victim will ultimately recover. We all play a part, but everyone must share the same vision. Internally, it means that all the groups that represent the continuum of care must continually focus on ways to improve communication and coordination. But this also requires building awareness and education within the community. People need know how to identify the signs of stroke and EMS providers need to know what to do and where to take patients.
What does the future hold for stroke care?
Bhalla: We are committed to continuing to find creative ways to deliver the highest level of stoke care to patients where and when they need it. This includes working with community providers and partnering with EMS to leverage the resources of our Comprehensive Stroke Center to diagnose and potentially begin treatment for stroke patients even before they reach the hospital.
Neurosurgery Honored for Excellence in Care
Monday, December 19, 2016
The Rochester Neurosurgery Partners Team
UR Medicine’s Strong Memorial Hospital has been recognized by Becker's Hospital Review in its 2016 list of 100 Hospital and Health Systems with Great Neurosurgery and Spine Programs. This is the third consecutive year that the department has received this honor.
The list features hospitals and health systems that are “national forerunners in neuroscience, providing treatment for patients suffering from various conditions and injuries pertaining to the brain and spine.”
“This recognition is a testament to the dedication and excellence of our faculty, nurses, and staff and their commitment to provide the highest level of care to patients in our region,” said Webster Pilcher, M.D., Ph.D., the Ernest & Thelma Del Monte Distinguished Professor of Neuromedicine and chair of the Department of Neurosurgery.
Strong Memorial Hospital is a designated Blue Distinction Center+ for Spine Surgery and is the region’s only Comprehensive Stroke Center, as designated by the Joint Commission and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. The hospital is also home to the area’s only dedicated 24/7 Neuromedicine Intensive Care Unit.Read More: Neurosurgery Honored for Excellence in Care
Neurosurgeon Bhalla Joins Stroke Team
Tuesday, August 30, 2016
Tarun Bhalla, M.D., Ph.D., has been named director of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Services in the Department of Neurosurgery and director of Inpatient Stroke and Cerebrovascular Services at UR Medicine. Bhalla, who was also appointed assistant professor in the Departments of Neurosurgery, Neurology, and Imaging Sciences, began his position on August 1, 2016.
“Dr. Bhalla is a tremendously skilled endovascular neurosurgeon who will build upon an already strong foundation of stroke and cerebrovascular services and help guide efforts to expand and improve care across the region,” said Web Pilcher, M.D., Ph.D., chair of the Department of Neurosurgery. “We are delighted that he has agreed to join the Medical Center and our team.”
“I am honored to join UR Medicine and look forward to contributing to a team of providers that is already providing the highest level of care for victims of stroke and cerebrovascular diseases,” said Bhalla. “In stroke, time is brain, so we need to continue to focus on new ways to accelerate the process of getting patients to where they need to be and receiving the level of care necessary to achieve good outcomes.”
Bhalla joins URMC from Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, PA where he served for three years as the director of Cerebrovascular and Endovascular Neurosurgery. He received his M.D. and Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut and did his residency training, as well as a fellowship in surgical endovascular neuroradiology, at the Cleveland Clinic. His specialties include cerebrovascular and endovascular treatment for stroke, aneurysms, arteriovenous malformations (AVM), carotid/vertebral artery disease, and a chronic facial pain called trigeminal neuralgia.
Bhalla will join the UR Medicine’s Comprehensive Stroke Center. Strong Memorial Hospital is the only institution in the region designated by the Joint Commission and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association as a Comprehensive Stroke Center. His appointment will expand the Center’s team of endovascular surgeons. In recent years, stroke care undergone a shift in care with studies showing that endovascular procedures – during which surgeons remove clots in the brain via a catheter fed through blood vessels – may result in better outcomes for some patients compared to care involving only clot busting drugs.
His appointment comes on the heels of several new investments in stroke and cerebrovascular care at Strong Memorial Hospital, including a new Hybrid Operating Room and Angio Suite designed to offer minimally invasive neurosurgical procedures, a new surgical technology to treat hemorrhages deep inside the brain, and a dedicated Neuromedicine Intensive Care Unit.
Bhalla will help lead efforts to expand stroke care, including working with community providers and emergency medical technicians to diagnose and potentially begin treatment for stroke patients before they reach the hospital.Read More: Neurosurgeon Bhalla Joins Stroke Team
UR Medicine Gets Top Honors for Cardiac, Stroke Programs
Tuesday, May 24, 2016
The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association has once again honored UR Medicine’s Strong Memorial Hospital with its highest awards for heart failure, stroke and resuscitation care. Strong Memorial is the only Rochester-area hospital to earn the highest levels of recognition for these categories of care.
Strong Memorial earned Get With the Guidelines Heart Failure Gold Plus and Target Heart Failure Honor Roll Award, Stroke Gold Plus and Target Elite Plus Honor Roll Award and Resuscitation Gold Award in the AHA/ASA’s hospital-based quality improvement program.
Each year in the U.S., approximately 735,000 people suffer heart attacks, 5.7 million people endure heart failure and nearly 800,000 people suffer a stroke, according to the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. The GWTG program is designed to measure outcomes and adherence to treatment guidelines to ensure high quality care at hospitals across the nation.
“We strive to provide the most comprehensive, leading-edge care for our patients,” said neurologist Curtis G. Benesch, M.D., M.P.H., medical director of the UR Medicine Comprehensive Stroke Center. “This award acknowledges the commitment of many individuals to the goals of advancing acute stroke care and improving stroke prevention.”
Read More: UR Medicine Gets Top Honors for Cardiac, Stroke Programs
UR Medicine Honored for Stroke Care
Friday, July 24, 2015
UR Medicine’s Strong Memorial Hospital has received the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association’s (AHA/ASA) highest award for stroke care, including a new designation that recognizes excellence in rapid care that can save lives and improve the quality of life of stroke victims.
In stroke care, time equals brain, said Curtis Benesch, M.D., medical director of the UR Medicine’s Comprehensive Stroke Center.
This award recognizes the discipline and training that is required to provide appropriate and timely care to stroke patients and our team strives each and every day to provide the most comprehensive, cutting-edge care for patients from across upstate New York.
This award reflects the commitment of our team to providing the highest level of care possible for our patients who’ve suffered a stroke, said Babak Jahromi, M.D., surgical director of the Comprehensive Stroke Center.
The outstanding group of nurses, therapists, and physicians that we have assembled are dedicated to this common goal.
Strong has been named a Get With The Guidelines Stroke Gold Plus Achievement Award with Target: Stroke Honor Roll Elite Plus. The award recognizes the hospitals commitment and success ensuring that stroke patients received the most appropriate treatment according to nationally recognized, research-based guidelines based on the latest scientific evidence.
To receive the Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award, hospitals must achieve 85 percent or higher adherence to all Get With The Guidelines-Stroke achievement indicators for two or more consecutive 12-month periods and achieved 75 percent or higher compliance with five of eight Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Quality measures.Read More: UR Medicine Honored for Stroke Care
New Neurovascular Ultrasound Laboratory a Success
Saturday, November 8, 2014
Christina Clary and Dr. Holmquist
Through determination and teamwork with Neurosurgery and Imaging Sciences, the Department of Neurology’s vision of having a dedicated Neurovascular Laboratory has been realized. The laboratory performs carotid ultrasounds on patient's with suspected cerebrovascular disease. Since opening this past July, we have already performed over fifty studies. The neurovascular laboratory will play an integral role in our department's mission of providing comprehensive neurovascular care to our region and ultrasound education to our residents, students and fellows. Our upcoming plans involve performing transcranial dopplers. I would like to take this time to especially thank Christy Clary, Christy Miller, and Dr. Benesch for their time and effort to help make this happen.
The neurovascular laboratory is located at 2180 South Clinton Avenue, the site of the Comprehensive Stroke Center clinic. Studies can be ordered through eRecord and by contacting Melissa Mack or Christina Holloway at 275-2530.
- Todd Holmquist, M.D.
Heart/Stroke Association Honors UR Medicine for Highest Quality Care
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association (AHA/ASA) has once again recognized UR Medicine and its Strong Memorial Hospital for achieving its highest standards of care for stroke, heart failure, and resuscitation.
Strong Memorial Hospital has received the AHA/ASA Get With The Guidelines program’s highest honor, the Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award for a fifth consecutive year. The hospital was also tapped for the Target: Stroke Honor Roll, which recognizes hospitals that have consistently and successfully reduced door-to-needle time – the window of time between a stroke victim’s arrival at the hospital, the diagnosis of an acute ischemic stroke, and the administration of the clot-busting drug tPA.
“We are proud to earn this recognition, however we continue to work to improve time-to-treatment for people who are suffering a stroke. Early treatment is proven to preserve brain function and enhance recovery for each patient,” said neurologist Curtis Benesch, M.D., M.P.H., medical director of the UR Medicine Comprehensive Stroke Center.Read More: Heart/Stroke Association Honors UR Medicine for Highest Quality Care
UR Medicine Helps Forge National Stroke Care Guidelines
Friday, March 28, 2014
A new statement from the American Heart Association (AHA) recommends that people recovering from a severe stroke receive tailored and coordinated care that optimizes quality of life and minimizes suffering. The statement – which was published today in the journal Stroke – represents the first attempt to establish a fundamental set of recommendations that can help guide physicians, patients, and their families through the difficult decisions that arise from this condition.
Read More: UR Medicine Helps Forge National Stroke Care Guidelines
The majority of stroke patients require access to some form of palliative care, said Robert Holloway, M.D., M.P.H., the chair of the Department of Neurology at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry.
Accomplishing this requires that a hospital’s system of stroke care and its team of providers place the patient and their family at the center of the decision-making process and build a plan of care that is based on their values and informed by effective and constant communication.
Stroke Survivors Deserve Team Care
Thursday, March 27, 2014
Palliative care that minimizes suffering and improves quality of life should be provided to patients who've survived a stroke, experts say. The care should be a team effort involving patients, families, stroke specialists and health care providers such as neurosurgeons, neurologists, primary care doctors, nurses and therapists, according to the new scientific statement from the American Heart Association (AHA) and American Stroke Association (ASA).
Read More: Stroke Survivors Deserve Team Care
The majority of stroke patients need access to some form of palliative medicine," statement lead author Dr. Robert Holloway, chairman of the neurology department at the University of Rochester Medical Center in Rochester, N.Y., said in an AHA/ASA news release.
The stroke team and its members can manage many of the palliative care problems themselves. It encourages patient independence and informed choices, he explained.
UR Medicine Recognized for Stroke Care, Launches Neurocritical Care Program
Tuesday, February 4, 2014
Strong Memorial Hospital has been recognized by The Joint Commission and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association as a Comprehensive Stroke Center. This designation, which has only been conferred on two other hospitals in New York State, places Strong among an elite group of institutions that provide highly-specialized complex stroke care.
“We are proud that the Joint Commission has recognized our dedicated team of neurologists, neurosurgeons, radiologists, emergency department physicians, nurses, therapists, and staff,” said neurologist Curtis Benesch, M.D., M.P.H., the medical director of the URMC Stroke and Cerebrovascular Center. Read More: UR Medicine Recognized for Stroke Care, Launches Neurocritical Care Program
This certification is a testament to their commitment to provide the highest and most comprehensive level of stroke care to our community.
URMC Honored for Stroke, Cardiac Programs
Tuesday, May 28, 2013
The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association (AHA/ASA) has once again recognized the University of Rochester Medical Center’s (URMC) Strong Memorial Hospital as having met its highest standards of care for stroke, heart failure, and resuscitation.
This is the fourth consecutive year that Strong Memorial Hospital has received the AHA/ASA Get With The Guidelines program’s highest honor, the Stroke Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award. The hospital was also tapped for the Target: Stroke Honor Role, which recognizes hospitals that have consistently and successfully reduced door-to-needle time – the window of time between a stroke victim’s arrival at the hospital, the diagnosis of an acute ischemic stroke, and the administration of the clot-busting drug tPA.
"This recognition is a testament to the hard work of our outstanding team of nurses, physicians, and therapists and their dedication to provide the highest quality of care to stroke victims," said URMC neurologist Curtis Benesch, M.D., Ph.D., the director of the Strong Stroke and Cerebrovascular Center.Read More: URMC Honored for Stroke, Cardiac Programs
Stroke Survivors Share Experiences During March 28 Seminar
Monday, March 25, 2013
A three-time stroke survivor, whose perseverance allowed her to work, maintain her busy household and be courageous enough to take karate and surfing lessons, is among the speakers at a seminar for stroke survivors on Thursday, March 28, at the Hyatt Regency.
Christina Goodermote will share her personal story and lessons learned after surviving a stroke, at 39. The Chili woman will be joined by fellow survivor Lucy Sebastian during the Stroke Treatment Alliance of Rochester's community education event from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Registration is required for the free event, call 585-275-8344. Space is limited.
The Stroke Treatment Alliance of Rochester, or STAR, is a collaborative effort by University of Rochester Medical Center's Strong and Highland hospitals, Unity Hospital and Rochester General Hospital to improve and unify stroke care and raise awareness of the warning signs for this potentially devastating health emergency.
This initiative is led by URMC neurosurgeon Babak Jahromi, M.D., Ph.D., and neurologist Curtis Benesch, M.D., M.P.H., and funded by the Greater Rochester Health Foundation.
Read More: Stroke Survivors Share Experiences During March 28 Seminar
Mini Strokes Can Cause Brain Damage, Lead To Dementia And Cognitive Impairment: Study
Thursday, December 13, 2012
Chances are if you're a senior managing your health, you've already had a conversation with your doctor about stroke risk. While many patients know the warning signs of stroke -- slurred speech, weakness on one side of the body, coordination problems, double vision, and headaches -- health care providers often fail to educate patients about their risk for silent or
mini-strokes, which can cause progressive, permanent damage and lead to dementia.
A new study published in the Journal of Neuroscience, examined the effects of these so-called mini-strokes. They frequently are not diagnosed or detected by a doctor because a patient does not immediately present with stroke signs. Mini-strokes may lead to permanent neurological damage and increase risk for full blown stroke.
Maiken Nedergaard, MD, lead author of the study and professor of neurosurgery at the University of Rochester Medical Center, says at least half of individuals over the age of 60 will experience one mini-stroke in their lifetime. She calls the prevalence of mini-strokes "an epidemic."Read More: Mini Strokes Can Cause Brain Damage, Lead To Dementia And Cognitive Impairment: Study
Highland Appoints Adam Kelly, M.D., Chief of Neurology
Thursday, October 25, 2012
Adam Kelly, M.D., has been named Highland Hospital's Chief of Neurology. Dr. Kelly has been involved in neurological care at the hospital since April 2010, serving as the Director of Highland's Stroke Center.
Under Dr. Kelly's guidance, Highland has experienced sustained improvement in all New York state performance measures for stroke care. The hospital earned the American Heart Association's Gold-Plus Award twice in two years as well. Dr. Kelly has also led Highland's involvement in the Stroke Treatment Alliance of Rochester (STAR) collaborative to improve stroke care at hospitals throughout the community.
"Neurology is a challenging field, but I embrace that challenge, and I love patient care," Dr. Kelly said. "I look forward to building on the programs and initiatives my predecessors have put into place."Read More: Highland Appoints Adam Kelly, M.D., Chief of Neurology
Researchers at the Doorstep of Stem Cell Therapies for MS, Other Myelin Disorders
Thursday, October 25, 2012
When the era of regenerative medicine dawned more than three decades ago, the potential to replenish populations of cells destroyed by disease was seen by many as the next medical revolution. However, what followed turned out not to be a sprint to the clinic, but rather a long tedious slog carried out in labs across the globe required to master the complexity of stem cells and then pair their capabilities and attributes with specific diseases.
In a review article appearing today in the journal Science, University of Rochester Medical Center scientists Steve Goldman, M.D., Ph.D., Maiken Nedergaard, Ph.D., and Martha Windrem, Ph.D., contend that researchers are now on the threshold of human application of stem cell therapies for a class of neurological diseases known as myelin disorders – a long list of diseases that include conditions such as multiple sclerosis, white matter stroke, cerebral palsy, certain dementias, and rare but fatal childhood disorders called pediatric leukodystrophies.
Read More: Researchers at the Doorstep of Stem Cell Therapies for MS, Other Myelin Disorders
Stem cell biology has progressed in many ways over the last decade, and many potential opportunities for clinical translation have arisen, said Goldman.
In particular, for diseases of the central nervous system, which have proven difficult to treat because of the brain's great cellular complexity, we postulated that the simplest cell types might provide us the best opportunities for cell therapy.
Free Seminar for EMS Crews to Focus on Stroke Nov. 7
Monday, October 15, 2012
Highland Hospital invites local Emergency Medical Service (EMS) crews and Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) to its upcoming seminar, "Assessments and Acute Interventions for Stroke Patients," starting at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 7 in the Collins Auditorium at Highland. The event is free, but registration is required at (585) 341-6709.
Adam G. Kelly, M.D., Interim Chief of Neurology, will present on the common signs and symptoms of stroke and how Emergency Department and EMS personnel can partner to provide prompt evaluation of and treatment to stroke patients. Dr. Kelly also will discuss interventions physicians consider once the patient arrives, including the administration of IV tPA, a clot-dissolving medicine that can restore blood flow to parts of the brain affected by stroke. This can prevent parts of the brain from becoming permanently damaged.Read More: Free Seminar for EMS Crews to Focus on Stroke Nov. 7
Two Rochester Neurologists among Those Calling for Stronger Studies
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Two neurologists at the University of Rochester Medical Center are part of an international team of scientists who call for greater rigor in the way that early-stage biomedical research is done and reported. The group, led by scientists at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, part of the National Institutes of Health, makes its recommendations in a paper published in Nature.
Among the authors are Robert A. Gross, M.D., Ph.D., and Richard T. Moxley, M.D. Gross took part through his position as editor in chief of Neurology, the world's leading clinical neurology journal, while Moxley was asked to join the group because of his extensive experience working with patients and doing research on common neurological disorders.
The Nature publication is the result of a workshop organized by NINDS in June to discuss issues around preclinical research – research on which subsequent studies in people are based. Scientists, patients, and pharmaceutical companies use this early information to make crucial decisions about what compounds to pursue to try to develop better treatments for conditions like stroke, Alzheimer's, and Parkinson's disease, and which compounds or efforts to wind down because they lack promise.Read More: Two Rochester Neurologists among Those Calling for Stronger Studies
Study Questions Validity of Quality Measure for Stroke Care
Monday, August 27, 2012
One of the key indicators of the quality of care provided by hospitals to acute stroke victims is the percentage of patients who die within a 30-day period. A new study shows that the decisions made by patients and their families to stop care may account for as many as 40 percent of these stroke-related deaths, calling into question whether it is a valid measure of a hospital’s skill in providing stroke care.
The study, which appears today in the journal Neurology, focuses on a quality measure proposed by the federal Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services called the 30-day risk adjusted stroke mortality. While the measure is being developed as a part of federal health care reform, it is already commonly employed as an indicator of a hospital’s quality of care on websites that evaluate hospital performance.
"It is clear that a significant component of the overall mortality score as currently constructed does not tell the whole story and is predicated on the preference of patients and their families," said University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) neurologist Adam Kelly, M.D., lead author of the study.Read More: Study Questions Validity of Quality Measure for Stroke Care
Stroke Victims Not Receiving Timely Diagnosis, Care
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
The mantra in stroke care is “time is brain.” With each passing minute more brain cells are irretrievably lost and, because of this, timely diagnosis and treatment is essential to increase the chances for recovery. While significant strides have been made to improve the response time of caregivers, a new study shows that a critical step in the process – imaging of the brain to determine the nature of the stroke – is still occurring too slowly at too many hospitals.
A study out this month in the journal Stroke shows that only 41.7 percent of stroke patients underwent brain imaging within the recommended 25 minutes of their arrival at a hospital. It also found that certain individuals, including people with diabetes, those over 75 years of age, women, those that did not arrive by ambulance, non-whites, and those with certain cardiac conditions were less likely to receive a timely brain scan. These delays mean that treatment often comes either too late or not at all.
"We were struck by the fact that less than half of patients with acute stroke symptoms did not receive a brain scan within recommended guidelines,” said University of Rochester Medical Center neurologist Adam Kelly, M.D., lead author of the study. “This was the performance of hospitals who are actively participating in a national quality improvement program, so rates in non-participating hospitals may be even worse."Read More: Stroke Victims Not Receiving Timely Diagnosis, Care
University Life Trustee, Neurosciences Benefactor Ernest J. Del Monte Dies
Monday, April 23, 2012
Ernest J. Del Monte, 87, real estate and hotel developer, philanthropist and University of Rochester Life Trustee, died Saturday, April 21, 2012. His generosity to the University of Rochester leaves a legacy of innovation and collaboration to help eradicate brain diseases.
Mr. Del Monte, of Pittsford, was a visionary in business and industry. With a $10 million gift to the University in 2009, he and his wife, Thelma, helped establish the E.J. Del Monte Neuromedicine Institute to expand the study and treatment of Alzheimer's disease, stroke, spinal cord and brain injuries, and brain cancers at the University of Rochester Medical Center.
The gift was the catalyst for the establishment of the Del Monte Neuromedicine Institute, which serves as an umbrella for several vibrant research centers and growing clinical care programs throughout the Medical Center and River Campus. It has also reinvigorated the scientists and physicians who treat patients with neurological conditions.
Read More: University Life Trustee, Neurosciences Benefactor Ernest J. Del Monte Dies
Ernie was a force of nature who touched so many of our lives at the University. I am proud to have spent time with him and his late wife, Thelma, and continue to be deeply moved by his commitment to the Del Monte Neuromedicine Institute. When I last spoke with him, he was still planning deals, always imaginative, always determined, right up to the end, said Joel Seligman, president of the University of Rochester.
Stop Stroke Before it Stops You - 4 Things You Should Know
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Ask any number of men what they think their odds of having a stroke are, and you might find many of them believe stroke is frighteningly unpredictable and can attack like a bolt from the blue – without warning, trailing death and disability in its wake.
That idea is dangerously wrong. The truth is that a stroke is the bullet at the end of a very long barrel and there is a lot you can do to dodge it.
The path to stroke can be started by heart disease – especially if you have an irregular heartbeat. It also can be started by arterial disease – especially if there is a build-up of plaque in the arteries of the neck. The chain of events that begins with cardiovascular disease and ends in stroke can take years, or even decades to evolve. You probably will not know that it is happening.
Study: African Americans Have Better Stroke Survival Rates
Monday, January 31, 2011
A study published today shows that African Americans have a better survival rate compared to whites after being hospitalized for a stroke. This conclusion contradicts prevailing wisdom and is one piece in a growing body of evidence that points to the important role that patients – and the decision they and their families make in terms of treatment – may play on mortality rates.
The study found that – after adjusting data for variables such as age, socioeconomic status, and risk factors – that African Americans who were hospitalized for acute ischemic stroke had a significantly lower mortality rate than whites. The survival advantage was most pronounced early after the stroke but persisted for up to one year. The study also found that African Americans were also more likely during their hospitalization to have received more aggressive treatment measures, such as kidney dialysis, a tracheostomy, or cardiopulmonary resuscitation. They were also less likely to use hospice care. These results were published today in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
“These results fly in the face of conventional wisdom that says that black patients with strokes have worse outcomes,” said University of Rochester Medical Center neurologist Robert Holloway, M.D., M.P.H. a co-author of the study. “Even though we do not know the exact reasons for these differences, these data highlight the potential importance of treatment intensity, and the expression of patient preference for different treatments on survival and mortality. This is not such a far-fetched idea for physicians who take care of a lot of stroke patients.”Read More: Study: African Americans Have Better Stroke Survival Rates
Study: Get Thee to a Stroke Center
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Hospitals with designated stroke centers are associated with up to 20 percent higher survival rate for patients with ischemic stroke and significantly greater use of acute stroke therapy. That is the conclusion of a study appearing today in the Journal of the American Medical Association which compares treatment and outcomes in stroke care between hospitals in New York State.
“The basic premise of stroke centers and stroke care – that coordinated care delivered around a specific disease can likely improve outcomes – is widely accepted,” said University of Rochester Medical Center neurologist Robert Holloway, M.D., M.P.H., a co-author of the study. Read More: Study: Get Thee to a Stroke Center
However, there has been limited empirical evidence demonstrating that admission to a stroke center is associated with lower mortality. This study shows that designated stroke centers not only have a greater adherence to evidence based practices but they also save lives.
Neuroscientist to Discuss Action Video Games as Learning Tool
Monday, January 10, 2011
Cognitive scientist Daphne Bavelier, Ph.D., will discuss her work using video games to explore the remarkable capacity of the brain to adapt as part of a lecture series highlighting biological and biomedical research at the University of Rochester.
Bavelier will discuss her research this Friday, Jan. 14, in the Class of '62 Auditorium (Room G-9425) at the Medical Center. The talk, part of the “Second Friday Science Social” lecture series, is geared mainly to faculty, staff and students at the University, though the general public is welcome as well.
Bavelier, professor of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, is an expert on the brain's ability to learn and adapt to an ever-changing environment. For the past decade, she has employed video games as a way to explore the brain's ability to adapt – a capability crucial for people trying to recover from a stroke or a traumatic brain injury or for people seeking to keep their mind as sharp as possible as they age.Read More: Neuroscientist to Discuss Action Video Games as Learning Tool