Treatment Programs


Stroke Service at Massachusetts General Hospital

The Stroke Service at Massachusetts General Hospital provides diagnosis, prevention and treatment for patients with stroke and other cerebrovascular diseases.


The Stroke Service at Massachusetts General Hospital aims to provide the highest standard of care including diagnosis, prevention and treatment, for patients with stroke and other cerebrovascular diseases.

We are known for the quality of our patient care and our important contributions to the understanding of stroke, which is a major cause of death and disability in the United States.

What to Expect

Patients with stroke symptoms are often transported to the emergency department for evaluation. Neurologists examine the patient in the emergency department and tests (including blood tests, brain scans, and heart monitoring) are performed to pinpoint the cause of the symptoms and determine whether clot-busting therapies are appropriate.

Many patients come to our program after being evaluated via TeleStroke and treated at a community hospital. Once they arrive at Mass General, they are evaluated by a stroke specialist, considered for an acute interventional procedure and admitted to the Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit.

Patients typically remain in the hospital for several days to complete diagnostic testing, establish a cause for the stroke and begin secondary prevention therapies. If neurological problems persist, patients are referred for acute inpatient rehabilitation.

Managing the Full Spectrum of Stroke

The Stroke Service is staffed by a team of neurologists with subspecialty expertise in this area. As a result of their clinical experience and research efforts, we have experience in diagnosing and managing a spectrum of disease, from "common" stroke to the rarest of cerebrovascular conditions, such as cerebral amyloid angiopathy.

Over the past 15 years, we have undertaken a number of important initiatives to improve the quality of stroke care. We have created standardized approaches (or "pathways") that reduce the time for diagnosis and treatment while enhancing patient outcomes. Our Acute Stroke Program serves as a blueprint for other centers in the United States and abroad. And we were among the first centers to develop an evidence-based Stroke Prevention Clinic to ensure patients receive optimal protection to avoid a stroke.

We have also pioneered efforts to prevent post-stroke aspiration pneumonia. This condition, which complicates 10 to 20 percent of stroke cases, makes swallowing very difficult and can lead to death by choking. Working with the Mass General Department of Speech, Language and Swallowing Disorders, we have developed a more aggressive approach to screening patients for aspiration pneumonia. Our model has been adopted by hospitals nationwide, saving lives in the process.

Streamlining Diagnosis & Treatment

Patients with stroke often suffer from other vascular diseases or disorders as well. So where appropriate, Stroke Service neurologists can call on the world-class expertise of the many specialists within the Mass General Vascular Center. Our multidisciplinary approach to patient care (a rarity in stroke centers) greatly streamlines the diagnosis and treatment of patients with complicated vascular disorders or cardioembolic stroke.

Finally, the Stroke Service has always been committed to advancing the understanding and treatment of cerebrovascular disease. Through our training programs, we educate our medical students, residents, fellows, physicians, nurses and administrative staff, as well as observers from other institutions. Our approach fosters in-depth discussion and analysis of cases and promotes state-of-the-art clinical management.

For more information please visit

The Stroke Service at Massachusetts General Hospital aims to provide the highest standard of care including diagnosis, prevention and treatment, for patients with stroke and other cerebrovascular diseases.

We offer a diversity of programs and services that allow us to manage all stages of stroke.

  • Outpatient Services involve diagnosis, prevention and management of the complications of stroke. We also explore innovative therapies for stroke recovery.
  • Acute Stroke Program provides 24/7 acute stroke team coverage for thrombolytic therapy, clinical trials and investigational new therapies to improve stroke outcomes.
  • TeleStroke Services allow Mass General stroke specialists to examine patients at 12 community hospitals to help make a diagnosis and recommend a treatment plan.
  • InPatient Stroke Neurology delivers sophisticated patient care for complex clinical problems, including stroke, intracerebral hemorrhage and other cerebrovascular processes. Mass General sees more stroke inpatients than any other Massachusetts hospital, and patients can participate in numerous clinical trials to advance the field of stroke.
  • Neurocritical Care Unit features advanced monitoring equipment along with state-of-the-art acute vascular management and neurological treatments.
  • Stroke Recovery Program promotes continuity of care and stroke expertise for our patients undergoing rehabilitation at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital.
  • Pediatric Stroke Services are provided through the MassGeneral Hospital for Children.

A Legacy of Leadership

The Stroke Service was founded in the 1950s by two giants in the field of neurology, C. Miller Fisher, MD, and Raymond Adams, MD., and advanced significantly under the leadership of J. Philip Kistler, MD. Our distinguished staff today includes 17 full-time neurologists, many of whom are leading figures in American vascular neurology.

Exciting Insights Through Research

The Stroke Service—along with the J. Kistler MGH Stroke Research Center, the Deane Institute for Integrative Research in Stroke and Atrial Fibrillation and other Partners-affiliated research laboratories—conducts a broad range of stroke-related research. Our patients can benefit by participating in clinical trials and other research offering access to new and innovative therapies. We are recognized as one of the American Stroke Association-Bugher Foundation Centers for Stroke Prevention Research.

Clinical stroke research is imperative if we are to devise more-effective strategies for stroke prevention, acute stroke management and stroke recovery. With the help of our patients, we are gaining exciting insights into these and other aspects of stroke.

If you have had or may be at risk for a stroke, please contact us to learn more about research opportunities.

For more information please visit


Stroke, also called brain attack, occurs when blood flow to the brain is disrupted.

Videos and Images - Stroke education in video and image form.

Prevention and Facts - Answers to common questions about stroke and related diseases.

Clinical Terminology - A glossary of commonly used clinical terms used in the Stroke Service.

Related Links - Recommended links to expand our mission of stroke education.

Support Groups - Links to support, discussion and charity groups.

Stroke Service Resources

Stroke information and resources are important assets for patients. Prevention materials, complication minimization post stroke, and educational materials for both patient and caregiver are available on the Stroke Service Resources pages.

The following related clinical trials and research studies are currently seeking participants at Massachusetts General Hospital. Search for clinical trials and studies in another area of interest.

Follow this News Articles and Web Postings link to find news related to the Mass General Stroke Service.

Videoconferencing can increase patient access to stroke specialists

Massachusetts General Hospital neurologist Dr. Lee Schwamm leads a national policy endorsing telestroke as an effective means of stroke evaluation.

Turning thoughts into action

Dr. Leigh Hochberg from the Department of Neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital is using neurotechnology to harness brain signals that accompany movement. The ultimate goal of the work is to "turn thought into action," with the hope of one day assisting people with ALS, spinal cord injury and stroke to regain control over their environment.

MGH receives GWTG-Stroke gold award

MGH Hotline 07.31.09 Massachusetts General Hospital has struck gold once again with the 2009 Get With The Guidelines (GWTG)-Stroke Gold Performance Achievement Award, sponsored by the American Stroke Association, a division of the American Heart Association.

Surviving a brain stem stroke

Stroke is one of the leading causes of serious, long-term disability in the United States. The Stroke Service at the Massachusetts General Hospital Vascular Center successfully treat one of emergency medicine’s toughest stroke cases.

Acute Stroke Quality Task Force recognizes fastest treatment time

MGH Hotline 02.04.11 TIME IS BRAIN when it comes to treating stroke.

Care redesign teams move forward with recommendations

The Partners Strategic Initiative is an ongoing effort to improve care and increase efficiency across all Partners institutions, including the MGH.

First Catheter-Based Stroke Treatment Case at Lunder

LAST MONTH, AN ACUTE STROKE SERVICES team took advantage of the state-of-the-art tools and resources in the new Lunder Building to perform the first case of intra-arterial stroke embolectomy and reperfusion for acute large vessel stroke in the new Lunder Building. Otherwise known as catheter-based stroke treatment, a catheter is placed into an artery and moved up to the clot and is extracted by a specially designed wire or device where tPA, a protein used to help breakdown blood clots, is often administered.

In Memoriam: C. Miller Fisher, MD

C. Miller Fisher, MD, founder of the MGH Stroke Service and widely regarded as the father of stroke neurology, died April 14 at the age of 98.

Collaborative caring

To introduce the Institute of Heart, Vascular and Stroke Care to the MGH community, “Health Information Day” will be held Sept. 12 from 7 am to 8 pm under the Bulfinch Tents.

Institute hosts ‘Health Information Day’

Designed to introduce the MGH community to the new interdisciplinary Institute, "Health Information Day" Sept. 12 featured informational sessions, panel discussions, hands-on demonstrations, samples from area food trucks and promotional giveaways.

MGH receives top honor for stroke patients’ quality of care

The MGH has received a top honor from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) for its commitment to improving its quality of care to stroke patients.

TeleStroke: Real-time Resources for Better Patient Care

Through the TeleStroke network, 30 emergency departments across the northeast have real-time access to stroke experts 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

It takes a team

The MGH Acute Stroke Care Team was honored with the 2012 Acute Stroke Champion Award at the MGH Acute Stroke Gala Breakfast.

Use of clot-dissolving drug for ischemic stroke nearly doubled from 2003 to 2011.

A team of researchers reports both an overall increase in the use of tPA to dissolve clots blocking arteries supplying the brain and administration of the potentially life-saving drug to a more diverse group of patients.

Safe landing

Linda Keir was flying over the Atlantic Ocean when she felt her heart begin to beat abnormally.

Supporting Stroke Services

Lee H. Schwamm, MD, executive vice chairman of Neurology and director of the Mass General Stroke Service, shares information about strokes, warning signs and advances in stroke care.

Every second counts

When it comes to treating stroke patients, every second counts.

Marking PAD awareness month

September is PAD awareness month, and in recognition Michael R. Jaff, DO, medical director of the Mass General Fireman Vascular Center and chair of the Mass General Institute for Heart, Vascular and Stroke Care, addresses some questions about the disease.

Endovascular Clot Retrieval Therapy: Implications for the Organization of Stroke Systems of Care

Endovascular acute ischemic stroke therapy is now proven by randomized controlled trials to produce large, clinically meaningful benefits. In response, stroke systems of care must change to increase timely and equitable access to this therapy. In this review, we provide a North American perspective on implications for stroke systems, focusing on the United States and Canada, accompanied by initial recommendations for changes.

Continuing Medical Education in Neurology

The Neurology Service at Mass General offers Continuing Medical Education through Harvard Medical School.

Follow this News Articles and Web Postings link to find news related to the Mass General Stroke Service.

Michael Jaff, DO, explains how knowing your personal and family history may help prevent a stroke

Michael Jaff, DO, Medical Director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Fireman Vascular Center explains how carotid artery disease can cause a stroke, unless it is found early and treated, and how you can identify your risk for this condition.

Guy Rordorf, MD, recommends an imaging test for anyone with a family history of FMD

Guy Rordorf, MD, vascular neurologist at the Massachusetts General Hospital Fireman Vascular Center, says an imaging test can detect fibromuscular dysplasia (FMD), and recommends it for those with a family history of the condition. Learn more about FMD and how it weakens artery walls and can lead to severe hypertension or stroke.

Neurology Bicentennial Celebration, 2011 Part I

Neurology Bicentennial Celebration, October 13, 2011. Past History of MGH Neurology; Overview of MGH Neurology; Telestroke and Acute Stroke Service; Neurodegenerative Disorders; Pediatric Neurology.

Neurology Bicentennial Celebration, 2011 Part II

Neurology Bicentennial Celebration, October 13, 2011. Clinical and research presentations on ALS, Stroke, Alzheimer’s Disease, and Parkinson’s Disease

A young stroke victim experiences a dramatic recovery

A young stroke victim experiences a dramatic recovery from a life threatening basilar artery occlusion with the help of the Acute Stroke Team and Dr. Aneesh Singhal. Also featuring Dr. Lee Schwamm.

Partners Neurology Residency

Neurology residents, program graduates, faculty members, and the education director talk about training at Mass General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Acute Stroke Care: When Time is Critical

13 days after giving birth to her son, a young woman suffers a stroke and makes a miraculous recovery. Features Dr. Leslie-Mazwi, Dr. Mehta and Dr. Musolino.Acute Stroke Care: When Time is Critical

Stroke Service Resources

Stroke information and resources are important assets for patients. Prevention materials, complication minimization post stroke, and educational materials for both patient and caregiver are available on the Stroke Service Resources pages.

Stroke Service at Massachusetts General Hospital

Wang Ambulatory Care Center
WACC, 7th floor, room 720
15 Parkman Avenue
Boston, MA 02114

Phone: 617-726-8459
Fax: 617-726-5043
Hours: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm

Public Transportation Access: yes
Disabled Access: yes

Next Steps:

Award-winning medical care

Massachusetts General Hospital is recognized as a leader in patient care, education and research, ranking among the most prestigious medical institutions.