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Neuro ICU Offers Region's Largest Service, Advanced Expertise

Critically ill patients with brain injuries and neurological diseases can receive expert care from fellowship-trained neurointensivists in the dedicated Neurological and Neurosurgical Intensive Care Unit (Neuro ICU) at UT Southwestern’s Zale Lipshy University Hospital.

Serving as one of the nation’s premier neurological treatment centers, the dedicated Neuro ICU at Zale Lipshy offers the highest level of care available to those most in need. With 20 beds, it is the largest service of its kind in the region and features state-of-the-art technology and a range of innovative treatments.

“For many people sufering from life-threatening neurological disorders, the presence of a Neuro ICU stafed by neurointensivists has been shown to significantly improve out-comes,” says Venkatesh Aiyagari, M.D., Medical Director of the Neuro ICU and Director of Neurocritical Care at UTSW.

A Critical Difference

Neurointensivists in the dedicated Neuro ICU at Zale Lipshy University Hospital include (from left): Julian Yang, M.D.; Robin Novakovic, M.D.; Stephen Figueroa, M.D.; Christiana Hall, M.D.; Michael Rubin, M.D.; and Venkatesh Aiyagari, M.D.

According to Dr. Aiyagari, one of the unique qualities of the program is its multidisciplinary approach to care that patients receive, which is different from other programs where the neurointensivist is more of a consultant than an active team member. At Zale Lipshy, Neuro ICU patients receive comprehensive care from a team that includes six neurointensivists — all of whom are fellowship trained in neurocritical care — as well as neurologists, neurosurgeons, interventional neuroradiologists, neuro ICU nurses, neuro anesthesiologists, pharmacists, respiratory therapists, dietitians, and speech and rehabilitation specialists.

“Our daily rounds include neurointensivists, the bedside nurse, care coordinator, pharmacist, respiratory therapist, and a dietitian,” says Dr. Aiyagari. “We have a daily exchange of information with each other about each patient, right at the bedside. Family members are encouraged to be present during rounds and participate in the care of the patient.”

Patient-Centered Medicine

The neurointensivists specialize in the treatment of:

  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Status epilepticus
  • Aneurysms
  • Arteriovenous malformations
  • Rare cerebrovascular conditions
  • Brain tumors
  • Spinal cord injury and myelopathies
  • Complex demyelinating diseases
  • Meningitis
  • Infectious and autoimmune encephalitis
  • Neuromuscular conditions that may cause life-threatening issues
  • Ischemic stroke
  • Cavernous malformations.

 

Currently, the most common conditions the neurointensivists treat are subarachnoid hemorrhage and intracerebral hemorrhage. UT Southwestern physicians practice patient-centered medicine, establishing a partnership with the patient and family in selecting the right course of action to address an individual’s needs and diagnosis.

Currently, the UT Southwestern Telestroke Network is enrolling hospitals in need of 24/7 stroke neurology consultation in the emergency room. The stroke consultations are for any program that may not have neurology support. The Neuro ICU also accepts hospital-to-hospital transfers for critically ill or complex patients.