Neurologists who treat strokes and other types of acute brain injuries use the motto “Time is brain” to convey the notion that from the moment the brain is injured, the effort to prevent permanent deficits or loss of life is a race against the clock.
In Brooklyn, the race has even greater urgency. Each year in that borough, some 8,000 people suffer an acute brain injury, more than in any other county in New York State, due in part to its enormous population—2.6 million and growing. About 1,200 of these injuries are treated at NYU Langone Hospital—Brooklyn, the only nationally accredited Level 1 Trauma Center in Brooklyn and a Comprehensive Stroke Center.
Last year, NYU Langone Hospital—Brooklyn treated more than 840 stroke patients. As in every year, many of those patients were transferred from other hospitals so that they can benefit from NYU Langone Hospital—Brooklyn’s expertise in minimally invasive procedures to destroy clots, performed by neurointerventional radiologists. “We do more interventional procedures than any other hospital in New York,” says Jeffrey Farkas, MD, director of neurointerventional radiology at NYU Langone Hospital—Brooklyn.
“We’re putting together one of the city’s finest neurocritical care teams.”—Jennifer A. Frontera, MD, NYU Langone Hospital—Brooklyn’s new chief of neurology.
Since NYU Lutheran merged with NYU Langone in January 2016, becoming NYU Langone Hospital—Brooklyn, expanding care for neurological emergencies, such as stroke and head trauma, has become a top priority. This spring, the hospital opened a second neurointerventional radiology suite, where specialists like Dr. Farkas use image-guided techniques to treat strokes, aneurysms, and other brain injuries. NYU Langone Hospital—Brooklyn will also soon open a four-bed neuro-intensive care unit (ICU), thanks in part to a recent $7 million anonymous gift—the largest in NYU Lutheran’s history.
The new neuro ICU will be staffed 24/7 by highly trained doctors and nurses who can identify and manage any secondary complications that set in after an acute brain injury. Many hospitals lack the resources for such a specialized unit and, instead, treat patients in a general ICU. However, studies show that patients with neurological emergencies—severe brain swelling, stroke, seizures—fare better when treated by teams of specialists working together in a dedicated facility.
“We can deliver care more effciently when everyone is in one place,” says neurologist Ting Zhou, MD, the new director of neurocritical care at NYU Langone Hospital—Brooklyn. “We use clinical exams and monitoring tools to detect very subtle changes that may signify brain swelling or bleeding,” says Dr. Zhou. “We know what needs to be done to protect the brain from further damage.”
Joining Dr. Zhou and Dr. Farkas are two additional neurointensivists, a cerebrovascular neurosurgeon, a spine and trauma neurosurgeon, four endovascular specialists, and two new stroke specialists.
“The investment in neurocritical care builds on our established expertise in neurology and neurosurgery and expands our ability to treat the most challenging cases,” says Erich G. Anderer, MD, who joined NYU Langone Hospital—Brooklyn as chief of neurosurgery last June.
NYU Langone Hospital—Brooklyn’s new chief of neurology, Jennifer A. Frontera, MD, says this is just the beginning. “We plan to bring on more specialists, upgrade technology, conduct clinical trials, and expand services. We’re putting together one of the city’s finest neurocritical care teams.”