Overview of the Neurovascular Medicine Program & Stroke Center

The Neurovascular Medicine Program and Stroke Center at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi’s Neurological Institute are comprehensive services that offer a full range of the latest diagnostic and treatment options for patients with stroke and other cerebrovascular conditions. ​Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi is designated by the Department of Health as the official Stroke Center for the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.

The treatment is built on a close collaboration between world class stroke neurologists, neuro-interventionalists, vascular neurosurgeons and specialists in other fields. These experts provide fully integrated, comprehensive, Patients First care at every step. Care tailored to each patient’s individual needs - from emergency stroke management, to complex neuro-interventional and neurosurgical procedures, to outpatient management and rehabilitation.

What we treat 

Neurovascular Medicine Program and the Stroke Center caregivers treat patients with a wide range of conditions, including:

  • Ischemic stroke: Stroke that occurs when a blood clot blocks an artery to the brain. Interruption of the flow of blood to the brain leads to brain damage, and can be life-threatening.
  • Transient ischemic attack (TIA): Sometimes called a “mini-stroke,” when blood flow to the brain is interrupted only for several minutes. It results in the same symptoms as stroke but doesn’t cause brain damage. A transient ischemic attack may be a warning sign that a stroke may occur soon.
  • Intracerebral hemorrhage: Intracerebral hemorrhage is when bleeding into the brain occurs, due to leaking or a ruptured blood vessel in the brain. This condition can cause a stroke. 
  • Subarachnoid hemorrhage: Subarachnoid hemorrhage is when there is bleeding around the brain, due to leaking or a ruptured blood vessel in the brain. This condition can cause a stroke. 
  • Blood vessel malformation: Condition in which a small region of blood vessels is connected in an abnormal way. A blood vessel malformation in the brain always requires monitoring and sometimes requires surgery to prevent bleeding, which can be life-threatening. 

Diagnosis & treatment in the Neurovascular Medicine Program and Stroke Center

Diagnosis in the Neurovascular Medicine Program & Stroke Center

Patients with acute signs and symptoms of a stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA) are first seen at the Emergency Department Stroke Center. They are then transferred to the Neurovascular Program for further care. Outpatients may also be referred to the Neurovascular Outpatient Clinic because they have had a previous stroke or transient ischemic attack, or because they have blood vessel malformations in the brain. 

All patients who come to the Neurovascular Medicine Program and Stroke Center will have access to the latest imaging techniques, including advanced neuro-imaging, for in-depth evaluation and diagnosis of their condition. This includes:

  • Computed tomography (CT): An imaging technique that uses x-rays to create a series of images of the brain.
  • Computed tomography (CT) angiogram: An imaging test that uses x-rays to create detailed pictures of the blood vessels in the brain.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): Creates clear pictures of the brain using magnetic fields and radio waves.
  • Catheter angiography: Interventional radiology technique that involves inserting a thin tube into an artery.
  • Carotid doppler: Ultrasound of the arteries in the neck.
  • Transcranial doppler: (Ultrasound of the interior brain arteries).
  • Single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) scan:  Nuclear medicine technique that uses imaging with radiotracers to make three dimensional images of the brain by measuring gamma rays. 
  • Positron emission tomography (PET) scan: Imaging technology that makes three dimensional images of the brain by using radiotracers and measuring energy produced by photons. 

The care team may also order blood tests that screen for diabetes and high cholesterol, as well as blood tests that look for unusual stroke risk factors and assess the patient’s response to a medication. This thorough testing allows the program caregivers to most accurately diagnose the patient and design the treatment plan. Patients who need further testing may also be referred for cardiac testing, which may include echocardiography (ultrasound of the heart), cardiac telemetry (external heart monitoring that uses electrodes that stick to the skin) and implanted cardiac monitoring (heart monitoring that relies on a device inserted under the skin).

Treatment in the Neurovascular and Stroke Program

When a patient arrives at the Emergency Department with signs of an acute stroke, they are first treated by the Stroke Center emergency physicians. If a patient arrives within the first few hours with a blood clot blocking an artery (ischemic stroke), our highly specialized team can offer intravenous (IV) medication to dissolve the clot. In some cases, the team performs an emergency procedure to extract the clot. For patients with acute bleeding (hemorrhagic stroke), our highly skilled team of neurosurgeons and neuro-interventionists performs emergency neurosurgery to alleviate the bleeding. 

After acute care the patient is then transferred to the expert team at the Neurovascular and Stroke Program within the Neurological Institute. There, caregivers order advanced scans to identify the type and cause of the stroke and conduct further follow-up.

Acute stroke inpatient admission and care

The majority of acute stroke patients who come to Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi’s Emergency Department will be seen at the Stroke Center and then admitted to the Neuro-intensive Care Unit. In less critical cases, patients are admitted to the Acute Neurology Ward. During their time at the hospital, patients will receive excellence in care provided by a multidisciplinary team consisting of neurologists, neuro-intensivists, neuro-interventionists, neurosurgeons, internists, vascular surgeons, cardiologists, neurorehabilitation physicians, and specialist nurses. Physical, occupational, and speech therapists, as well as dieticians may also be a part of the care team.

Outpatient management of stroke

Stroke patients who have already been discharged from the hospital, or who are referred to Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi after the acute stroke stage, are evaluated in the Neurovascular Outpatient Clinic. These patients have a comprehensive assessment with the team of neuro-interventionists, neurosurgeons and stroke neurologists. In order to ensure the best treatment course for complex conditions, the team discusses these patients’ cases in cerebrovascular case conferences. All patients are offered a comprehensive plan of condition management and treatment options, tailored to their specific needs.

Neurovascular Medicine Program & Stroke Center caregivers

The Neurovascular Medicine Program and Stroke Center at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi’s Neurological Institute is a truly multidisciplinary collaboration. While neurology specialists make up the core team, there is marked interaction and collaboration with members from other fields - they are also an integral part of the team without whom the program could not function. These team members include physicians, nurses, and technologists from the Emergency Department, the Neuro-intensive Care Department, the Imaging Institute, the interventional procedure and operating rooms, and other areas of Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi.

Caregivers involved in patient care for this program include:

  • Stroke neurologists
  • Neuro-interventionalists
  • Vascular and cranial neurosurgeons
  • Neurorehabilitation physicians
  • Physicians from other specialties
  • Neurology and neurosurgery clinical nurse coordinators
  • Stroke nurse coordinators
  • Neurology inpatient Nurses
  • Outpatient clinic nurses
  • Technicians
  • Physical therapists
  • Occupational therapists 
  • Speech and language pathologists 
  • Dieticians 
  • Case managers 
  • Social workers 

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