The Institute for Neurosciences - At the Vanguard of Specialized Care


Vol. 17, No. 3
Fall 2007

  • The Institute for Neurosciences: At the Vanguard of Specialized Care

  • Nine Winthrop Specialists Named to New York Magazine's “Best Doctors List

  • Good Health - It's in Our Hands

  • Tuskegee Airman Regains the Gift of Sight

  • Stroke Care at Winthrop

  • Under the Big Top

  • Golfing for the Kids

  • Pat Lyons Foundation Shows Unwavering Support for Generation of Survivors Program

  • Winthrop Opens LI's Only Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Center

  • Migliozzi Family Donates Rocking Chair to NICU

  • Jay's World Foundation Shows Ongoing Support

  • Winthrop's Home Health Agency Tops National List Again

  • Clinical Trials: Bringing the Future of Medicine to Long Island

  • 2007 MineolaStreet Fair

    Back to Publications


  • Robin Maragni
    Robin Maragni, 44, of Valley Stream, believes she owes her life to the staff at Winthrop- University Hospital's Institute for Neurosciences.

    "I met my girlfriend for coffee one evening when suddenly, I felt a pop in my neck, followed by a rush of pain up my back and an instant headache," recalls Mrs. Maragni.

    She spent the next 24 hours suffering from a blinding, unrelenting headache and vomiting. After seeking emergency medical treatment from a local hospital, Mrs. Maragni was quickly transferred to Winthrop, where she met with Jonathan Brisman, MD, Winthrop's Director of Cerebrovascular and Endovascular Neurosurgery and learned she had a ruptured brain aneurysm.

    An aneurysm is a blood-filled bulge in a blood vessel caused by a weakening of the vessel wall. When the bulge bursts, the area is flooded with blood. “Although brain aneurysms are quite common, a ruptured aneurysm requires prompt medical attention as it can quickly become life threatening, " said Dr. Brisman.

    Dr. Jonathan Brisman is one the nation's few neurosurgeons trained in advanced microneurosurgery and endovascular techniques. He is skilled in endovascular coiling for the treatment of brain aneurysms, a procedure that involves threading a small catheter into the femoral artery of the leg and navigating it through the vascular system into the head. Tiny platinum coils are then threaded through the catheter to the site of the aneurysm, halting the blood flow. Used with qualified patients, this advanced procedure results in reduced discomfort, smaller incisions and faster recovery.

    Today, just weeks after the surgery, Mrs. Maragni is enjoying her normal daily activities, which include walking up to eight miles a day. “I feel great, she said. “It's quite amazing. I'm grateful to everyone at Winthrop."

    Institute for Neurosciences

    Endovascular coiling is just one of the advanced treatments offered to patients in Winthrop's Institute for Neurosciences. With a highly specialized, multidisciplinary staff - including an expert Stroke Care Team that is available 24/7 - advanced imaging and state-of-the-art surgical interventions, Winthrop is at the forefront of a field known for its complexity. The Institute provides patients with cutting-edge, round-the-clock diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of problems related to the brain and central nervous system, including brain aneurysms and tumors, stroke and spine disorders.



    Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit

    To enhance the breadth of services offered within the Institute, Winthrop built the first and only Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit (ICU) on Long Island in 2002. In just five years, it has become a regional leader in the delivery of advanced, specialized care for neurology and neurosurgery patients. Very few hospitals in the country boast separate intensive care units dedicated to such patients.

    “The Neuroscience ICU at Winthrop hosts the most experienced neurosciences intensive care program on Long Island," said Michael Brisman, MD, Chief of Winthrop's Division of Neurosurgery and Co-Director of the Neurosciences Institute. “Our excellent team of doctors, nurses and physician assistants are experts in treating and managing a wide range of neurological problems."

    “Winthrop's Neuroscience ICU is well-known for its comprehensive evaluation, superior care and advanced monitoring techniques, " explained Elzbieta Wirkowksi, MD, Co-Director of the Neuroscience ICU and Director of the Cerebrovascular Program at Winthrop

    She and Mohammad Ibrahim, MD, oversee the day-to-day operations of the 14-bed Unit. Working closely with a team of neurologists, neurosurgeons, specially-trained nurses and physician assistants, they are dedicated to preserving the quality of life for individuals who have suffered brain trauma.

    “We are experts in neurological observation, " said Dr. Wirkowski. “With the sophisticated Doppler system that monitors blood flow through the vessels of the brain, electroencephalogram (EEG) and intracranial pressure monitoring devices, we facilitate quick and accurate decisions about a patient's neurological state. "

    Additionally, the Unit is home to the latest diagnostic tools, easily accessible for rapid analysis and intervention. “Winthrop has been designated a Stroke Center by the New York State Department of Health, " said Dr. Wirkowski. “Treating more than 500 stroke patients annually, our multidisciplinary team of specialists is ready at a moment's notice. "

    Neuroradiology

    The foundation of the Institute of Neurosciences rests in the finest and most sophisticated minimally invasive, image-based technologies to diagnose and treat diseases and injuries of the head, neck and spine.

    “A patient treated for a ruptured brain aneurysm, stroke or any other type of neurological disorder has access to the best technology and outstanding medical expertise at Winthrop," said Orlando Ortiz, MD, an interventional neuroradiologist and Chairman of Winthrop's Department of Radiology.

    In addition to housing such highly sophisticated diagnostic tools as computed tomography angiography (CTA), positron emission tomography (PET) scanning and magnetic resonance angiography (MRA), Winthrop recently obtained a new state-of-the-science, 64-slice computed tomography (CT) scanner.

    “The 64-slice CT scanner is an exciting addition to our already extensive set of diagnostic tools," said Dr. Ortiz. “It combines matchless image quality with remarkable speed to quickly produce exquisitely detailed images of the body's organs."

    In addition, the Institute recently acquired its second biplane digital angiography system. This non-invasive technology provides 3-D images for the evaluation of intracranial vessels, which heightens the accuracy and thoroughness of diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of peripheral and neurovascular disorders, including stroke and brain aneurysms.


    Winthrop's state-of-the-art 64-slice CT scanner

    Excellence Begets Excellence

    With so much advanced technology, the Institute for Neurosciences has attracted an outstanding team of experienced, skilled and specially trained professionals.

    “Our nurses have been educated in both critical care and neuroscience nursing, " said Karin Antaky, RN, the Neuroscience ICU Nurse Manager. “They are vital to this team. And, with a nurse-to-patient ratio of 1:2, they meet every patient need with the highest level of attention and care."

    In addition, the talent and diligence of the Neuroscience ICU's physician assistants have been critical to the superior quality of care that Winthrop's patients receive.

    “The quality of post-operative care on the Unit is absolutely phenomenal and unparalleled, " said Nancy Epstein, MD, Winthrop's Chief of Neurosurgical Spine & Education and Clinical Professor of Neurological Surgery at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. “The physician assistants and nurses on the Unit truly care about patients and their outcomes. I wouldn't trust my patients' care to anyone else."

    Dr. Epstein is one of the few neurosurgeons in the region with expertise and experience in bloodless surgery - a combination of techniques designed to minimize blood loss and the need for blood transfusions during and after spine surgery.

    Jeffrey Brown, MD, Neurosurgical Director of CyberKnife® stereotactic radiosurgery at Winthrop, is a renowned pioneer in the development and use of Motor Cortex Stimulation (MCS) to relieve intense, unremitting facial and neck pain; he is one of the nation's few neurosurgeons skilled in the procedure.

    Other treatment options available to Winthrop patients with spinal disorders include decompression with or without fusion, kyphoplasty and spinal neurostimulation.

    For more information on Winthrop's Institute for Neurosciences, call 1-866-WINTHROP.



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