Neuroscience Leader Calls for Higher Standards at NJ Stroke Centers

NJ Conference Advances Science and Treatment of Brain Emergencies, Disorders

ATLANTIC CITY, NJ – April 17, 2013 – Dr. Erol Veznedaroglu opened the first day of the Capital Institute for Neurosciences Conference calling for higher standards at the state's comprehensive stroke centers and further reductions in the outmigration of brain emergencies to New York and Philadelphia.

Dr. Veznedaroglu, director of the Capital Institute for Neurosciences, and chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery at Capital Health, called for changes in the state to improve emergency brain treatment for stroke, aneurysm and other neurologic diseases and injuries.

“We don’t want silos that compete with each other,” he said. “We need to work together to provide the highest quality care for all patients right here in New Jersey. These are time sensitive emergencies.”

Dr. Veznedaroglu spoke last week at the institute’s 5th annual neurosciences conference, where neuroscience leaders from around New Jersey and the region addressed about 400 healthcare professionals. The conference, which continues today and Friday, focuses on the latest advances in neuroscience.

At his opening address Wednesday, Dr. Veznedaroglu noted that the state has granted comprehensive stroke designation to 12 New Jersey hospitals, though not all have the services necessary for high quality emergency stroke treatment.

He suggested a state model with three to five comprehensive stroke centers spread throughout the state — with the high quality staff and technology to speed the best care to treat brain emergencies.

The neurosurgeon also addressed the outmigration of neurologic emergency patients to Philadelphia and New York. He cited statistics showing that a high percentage of neurosurgical patients are transferred to out-of-state hospitals.

Dr. Veznedaroglu is former director of the Division of Cerebrovascular and Endovascular Neurosurgery at Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals in Philadelphia, where he treated many emergency brain patients taken by ambulance from New Jersey to Philadelphia. He came to Capital Health in 2009 to create the Capital Institute for Neurosciences.

“In a brain emergency time equals brain cells. We created this center so people in New Jersey would get the best care more quickly and close to home,” he said.

The institute now treats more patients requiring brain surgery and more aneurysms than any other hospital in New Jersey. Capital Health is the only hospital in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware — and one of only eight in the nation — named a 2011 Top Performer in stroke care by The Joint Commission.

Also yesterday was a presentation by Dr. Arlan H. Mintz, director of Neurosurgical Oncology at Capital Health. He said highly advanced imaging technology now enables neurosurgeons at top centers to “map” the brain and resect tumors with less damage to critical neural pathways — both improving and extending quality of life for patients.

Dr. Michael D’Ambrosio, director of the Capital Health Center for Neurologic Emergency Medicine, presented, “Common Neurologic Misses in the Emergency Room.”

Dr. Mitra Assadi, director, Pediatric Neurology at Capital Health, discussed brain development in children with autism. Natalie Yampolsky, Pharm. D. at Capital Health, discussed challenges in anticoagulation.

The conference continues today and Friday.

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