Full Thrombectomy Now Available at UH Ahuja Medical Center for Select Stroke Patients
January 11, 2021
Service part of ongoing UH effort to bring advanced care to patients close to home
UH Clinical Update | January 2021
After months of training and preparation, the team at UH Ahuja Medical Center is now able to offer certain stroke patients who qualify full thrombectomy services. Previously, this service was only available to patients at UH Cleveland Medical Center.
“We are the first UH community hospital that is starting up this program,” says Heather Dickinson, Stroke Center Coordinator at UH Ahuja Medical Center. “It’s the same team that does this downtown, but instead of bringing the patients to them, they are coming to our patients here.”
The use of thrombectomy has shifted the paradigm of how best to care for stroke patients, Dickinson says.
“We didn’t have that much to offer these patients that many years ago,” she says. “Through a lot of trials and a lot of clinical research around the procedure, the evidence has emerged. The more research they do around it, the more positive information comes out of it. It’s getting better and better, and the technology is getting better. The stent retrievers are getting better. This is going to be the new gold standard one day.”
Patients who are candidates for thrombectomy at UH Ahuja get the full attention of a multidisciplinary team, including an ED physician, radiologist, stroke neurologist and an interventional neurosurgeon to perform the minimally invasive thrombectomy procedure.
“Patients will come in and be evaluated by an ED physician,” Dickinson says. “We get some advanced imaging, if warranted, depending on patient symptoms, time of onset and time of presentation. We will then consult with the physicians at main campus to determine whether the patient is eligible for this procedure and whether they can stay here at Ahuja, so we can treat them and take care of it here. There’s very comprehensive teamwork involved.”
The thrombectomy team at UH Ahuja includes:
- Cathy Sila, MD, Chair, Department of Neurology and Director, Stroke Center, Neurological Institute - University Hospitals
- Nicholas Bambakidis, MD, Vice President and Medical Director, Neurological Institute - University Hospitals
- Yin Hu, MD, Division Chief, Neurological Surgery - UH Ahuja Medical Center
- Michael DeGeorgia, MD, Director, Primary Stroke Center - UH Ahuja Medical Center
- Jeffrey Sunshine, MD, PhD, Neuroradiologist and Chief Medical Information Officer – University Hospitals
- Jeffrey Nelson, MD, Neurosurgeon
- Abhishek Ray, MD, Neurosurgeon
Dickinson says the entire stroke team at UH Ahuja is enthusiastic about what this new thrombectomy capability means for patients – and has been since the idea was first proposed.
“We were all on board with it right away,” she says. “We didn’t really need to convince anyone that this was a good idea. This is about trying to better serve the patients in the community. As far as patient satisfaction and keeping them here in the community, it’s better for them. They’re closer to their families. It also helps us decompress main campus. If we’re very capable of taking care of the patient here, let’s do it here.”
The team at UH Ahuja is still waiting to treat its first patient. But Dickinson says they look forward to putting their training to work and to ultimately pursuing a Joint Commission certification for the procedure.
For Dr. Hu, this new capability is a welcome development.
“UH Neurological Institute is excited to have the opportunity to expand our acute stroke intervention program into the Eastside community,” he says, “Since ‘time is brain,’ the program will provide quicker access to our patients with acute strokes for an earlier intervention and improve their chances for better neurological recovery.”
Heather Dickinson can be reached at Heather.Dickinson@UHhospitals.org.