Time is of the essence when a person is exhibiting symptoms of a stroke, and, according to Winthrop-University Hospital's Stroke Team in the Institute for Neurosciences, quick medical attention may actually stop and reverse the damaging effects of a stroke, or brain attack. Winthrop's Stroke Team can be mobilized 24-hours-a-day to assist with immediate diagnosis and intervention.
Patients who have suffered a stroke greatly benefit from Winthrop's Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit, the first and only one of its kind on Long Island, outfitted with the most advanced brain monitoring technology available. The 14-bed unit includes the sophisticated Doppler system, which monitors the blood flow through the vessels of the brain. The unit is also equipped with EEG monitors as well as intracranical pressure monitoring devices. The unit's advanced technology allows for quick and accurate decisions about a patient's neurological state to secure the best possible outcome.
Elzbieta Wirkowski, MD, Medical Director of Winthrop's Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit and Director of the Cerebrovascular Program at Winthrop, examines brain scans to determine the course of treatment for a stroke patient.
"The ability to diagnose a
patient's problem quickly and accurately matters greatly in their recovery," explained Elzbieta Wirkowksi, MD, Medical Director of Winthrop's Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit and Director of the Cerebrovascular Program at Winthrop.
In addition to sophisticated medical care, the Institute for Neurosciences at Winthrop offers patients access to community education and support programs.
These include the Health Update for Seniors, a program run through Winthrop's Division of Geriatrics, as well as Winthrop's Stroke Support Group, which addresses topics of interest for stroke survivors and
Winthrop has also launched a new peer volunteer program called the Stroke Peer Visitors Program. The "visitors" meet with hospitalized stroke survivors and their caregivers to provide hope, information about community resources, and social support. Winthrop has partnered with the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association to initiate this program on Long Island.
Research Key to Preventing Stroke in the Future
The Institute for Neurosciences is also participating in several important research investigations into new medications and new uses for existing drugs in the prevention and treatment of stroke.
A new drug is now being studied for its effectiveness in protecting healthy brain cells following a stroke. After a stroke occurs, chemicals or "free radicals," which are byproducts of dead brain cells, can attack and kill healthy cells in the surrounding areas of the brain. The drug, a neuroprotective agent or medication that protects undamaged brain cells after a stroke, is being studied to see how well it protects these healthy cells.
Other studies are also currently underway to investigate and compare the efficacy of medications in preventing secondary strokes. The Warceff trial is comparing the use of aspirin versus the drug coumadin, given to patients with weak hearts who are at risk for stroke. The investigation will look at which drug helps prevent stroke in patients with cardiac disease.
For more information on the Institute for Neurosciences or research studies, call 1-866-NEURO Rx. To learn more about becoming a volunteer Peer Visitor or for information on Winthrop's Stroke Support Group, contact Kerry O'Brien, RN, Cerebrovascular Program Coordinator at (516) 663-9098.