Neurologists Expand Expertise to Region Through Stroke Network

The Washington University stroke team at Barnes-Jewish Hospital is nationally renowned for its work in treating acute stroke. Patients throughout the region benefit from their expertise through the network of smaller community hospitals that consult with the team on complex stroke cases.

The team especially excels in treating appropriate stroke patients with the clotbusting drug tPA. The team’s “door-to-needle time” (meaning how rapidly a patient receives tPA) is among the best in the country.

In 2010, Washington University physicians at Barnes-Jewish treated 86 ischemic stroke patients with tPA within the crucial four-and-one-half-hour window from the onset of their stroke symptoms. For 32 of these patients, treatment was initiated at a community hospital after staff there consulted with the Barnes-Jewish stroke team.

Recognition in 2010 from the American Stroke Association is another indicator of the quality of stroke care available at Barnes-Jewish, which received both the “Get with the Guidelines – Stroke Silver Performance Achievement Award” in October and the “Target: Stroke” honor roll designation.

“Less than one percent of all acute care hospitals in the country are on the Target:
Stroke honor roll,” says Jin-Moo Lee, MD, PhD, director of the cerebrovascular section in neurology at Washington University and Barnes-Jewish Hospital. “This distinction reflects the commitment of the Washington University and Barnes-Jewish stroke team to making sure patients have the best acute stroke care possible.”

New technology changes the way brain tumors are treated

The metal probe with the glowing red tip looks a little like a magic wand. For certain brain tumor patients, it just might be.

“This tool gives us a treatment for patients with tumors that were previously deemed inoperable,” says Eric Leuthardt, MD, neurosurgeon.

The probe is part of a new surgical system used by Washington University neurosurgeons Ralph Dacey Jr., MD, chief of neurosurgery, and Dr. Leuthardt. The FDA-approved system, Monteris AutoLITT®, was used for the first time at Barnes-Jewish Hospital Sept. 1, 2010.

The patient had a recurrent tumor, and previous surgeries, coupled with the hard-to-reach location of the tumor, made a standard tumor resection impossible.

Drs. Dacey and Leuthardt used an intraoperative MRI (iMRI) to guide the probe directly into the tumor and discharged thermal energy to kill cancer cells, while leaving surrounding brain tissue undamaged. Barnes-Jewish was the third hospital in the United States to obtain the tool.

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