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Our expert multidisciplinary teams use the most advanced therapies available and treat both the physical and emotional impact of disease on patients as well as their families.
Our physicians and nurses care for patients and their families in the Neurosciences Intensive Care Unit, the Emergency Department and, through our extensive video telestroke network, in emergency departments throughout New England. We treat patients with traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, stroke, intracerebral hemorrhage, subarachnoid hemorrhage, subdural hemorrhages, encephalitis, refractory seizures, paralyzing neuromuscular conditions, as well those who have undergone complex neurosurgical and neuro-interventional procedures. A combination of world-class training and integration of cutting-edge technology allows us to deliver the best and most advanced care to our patients.
A Collaborative Multidisciplinary Approach
Our patient and family-centered care is centered on close collaboration with neurosurgery, interventional neuroradiology, physiatry, psychiatry, and other consulting services that offer highly specialized expertise in the care of complex critically ill patients. In addition, we work within a multidisciplinary team of nurses, case managers, nutritionists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, respiratory therapists, social workers and speech-language pathologists.
What to Expect
Whether in the Emergency Department or in the intensive care unit, our staff knows that families have a significant impact on the way patients respond to health and illness. Families provide a form of support that the patient care team cannot give. We believe healing is optimized when clinicians and patients/families partner to support our patients’ values and preferences. To this end, we do not have specific visiting hours in the Neurosciences Intensive Care Unit, but instead request that visiting be based upon each individual.
The patient care team may ask about medical history, allergies, & any medications our patients take at home. We know that the intensive care unit experience can be very stressful. Our staff is committed to supporting Our staff is committed to supporting patients and families during their stay in the Emergency Department or Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit. In the NeuroICU, physician team rounds occur every morning and generally last through until lunchtime. During rounds, physicians may have time for a brief “check in” with family members. Longer meetings between families and the care team are scheduled for the afternoons.
The care delivered in the Neurosciences Intensive Care Unit (NeuroICU) is unique. Patients who are critically ill due to arrhythmia, respiratory failure, trauma, and sepsis are complicated by the presence of neurologic disease. In addition to hemodynamic monitoring, the neurologic assessment can require monitoring of intracranial pressure or cerebral oxygen demand. Problems of fluid balance are complicated by problems of cerebral edema and endocrine abnormalities. Injury to the nervous system affects the mind, body, and spirit. Changes in our ability to communicate, move, and feel often result in drastic life changes. Confusion, delirium, and aphasia contribute to already stressful situations. Therefore, collaboration within our multidisciplinary team is crucial in transitioning patients to general care and providing informational and emotional support to both patients and their loved ones.
Supporting patients’ families is an important aspect of our care. Families are vital to our patient's progress and recovery, and we provide a wide array of resources for their support and education. As an example, the innovative Attending Nurse program has introduced a single nurse as a point person for patients and families throughout their hospital stay, including the complex transfer of care from the NeuroICU to the Neurosciences General Care Units. Please be sure to reach out to your attending nurse.
The MGH Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit provides expert, compassionate care to individuals with serious conditions of the brain and nervous system. Our goal is to strengthen resiliency and enhance recovery. Bringing together a multidisciplinary team of individuals with the broadest range of medical, humanistic and scientific expertise, we seek to be the world’s pre-eminent Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit.
The components of our mission are to
History of the MGH Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit
Created in 1969, the Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit was founded by two MGH neurosurgeons, Drs. Robert Ojemann and and Nicholas Zervas, with the close collaboration of an eminent neurologist, J. Phillip Kistler. From the initial efforts of these two pioneers, the MGH NeuroICU has grown from four beds to the current state of the art 22 bed unit.
There have been many milestones along the way. In 1978, a neurologist, Dr. Allan Ropper and an anesthesiologist, Dr. Sean Kennedy became the first Co-Directors of the MGH NeuroICU, and ushered in a became the first Co-Directors of the MGH NeuroICU, and ushered in what was then a first-of-its-kind critical care collaboration. During this time period, the NeuroICU developed the first neuroscience nursing training rotations, quickly developing what has become one of the world’s most talented NeuroICU nursing staffs.
In 1993, under the direction of Dr. Walter Koroshetz, the ICU expanded into an 18 bed ICU on Blake 12 and became known as a hub for the treatment of acute stroke and the growth of acute stroke therapies. Under the leadership of Dr. Lee Schwamm, the MGH Telestroke Network was created, which allows for acute remote consultation for neurologic emergencies in over 30 hospitals in three states. This pioneering telestroke network has become the largest in the country, and remains so today.
The training of neurointensivists and vascular neurologists has always been a core feature of the MGH NeuroICU. From its origins the fellowship training programs have trained more leaders in the field. From 2002 to 2011, under the leadership of Dr. Jonathan Rosand, the fellowship training program expanded dramatically, evolving into our current Neurocritical Care and Vascular Neurology fellowship programs, which together represent the largest training program of its kind in the world.
In 2011, the Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit moved into a new 22 bed, state of the art facility in the Lunder Building. In addition to expanding our space for patients and families, the new NeuroICU contains numerous technological advances, which enable us to continue to serve our patients with the latest generation of cutting-edge monitoring and treatments.
Today, the Division of Neurocritical Care is led by Division Chief Dr. W. Taylor Kimberly. He is joined by NeuroICU Medical Director Dr. Eric Rosenthal, Dr. Aman Patel as the Neurosurgical Director and Associate Medical Director Dr. Sahar Zafar. Tara Tehan, RN, MSN, MBA serves as the NeuroICU Nursing Director, and the Clinical Nurse Specialist is Mary Guanci, RN, MSN, CNRN. The NeuroICU continues its commitment to excellence and innovation in patient care.
Accepting New Patients
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a terminal neurological disorder characterized by progressive degeneration of nerve cells in the spinal cord and brain.
A brain tumor is an abnormal growth of tissue in the brain. The tumor can either originate in the brain itself, or come from another part of the body and travel to the brain (metastasize). Brain tumors may be classified as either benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous), depending on their behavior.
Deformational (or positional) plagiocephaly refers to a misshapen shape of the head from repeated pressure to the same area of the head.
Encephalitis is an inflammation caused by a viral infection.
Epilepsy is a neurological condition involving the brain that makes people more susceptible to having seizures.
Guillain-Barré syndrome is a neurological disorder in which the body's immune system attacks part of the peripheral nervous system.
Meningitis is an inflammation of the meninges, the membranes that surround the brain.
Myasthenia gravis (MG) is a complex, autoimmune disorder in which antibodies destroy neuromuscular connections. This causes problems with the voluntary muscles of the body, especially the eyes, mouth, throat, and limbs.
Rhabdomyosarcoma is a cancerous tumor that originates in the soft tissues of the body, including the muscles, tendons, and connective tissues.
Acute spinal cord injury (SCI) is due to a traumatic injury that can either result in a bruise (also called a contusion), a partial tear, or a complete tear (called a transection) in the spinal cord.
Stroke, also called brain attack, occurs when blood flow to the brain is disrupted.
Neurocritical Care Fellowship
The Neurocritical Care fellowship is a two-year UCNS-accredited program for general and neurologic critical care training.
Vascular Neurology Fellowship
The Vascular Neurology one-year fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital offers clinical, neuro-imaging, and rehabilitation training, and opportunities for vascular research projects.
Dylan’s recovery has provided Dr. Edlow and his laboratory important information about the timeline used for prognosis in the case of traumatic brain injuries. The information has encouraged clinicians not to limit care too quickly, and has provided a measure of hope for families.
The Neuro Critical Care Team’s excellence in service and innovation bring a young man back to life after epileptic seizures leave him comatose for five months. Features Dr. Rosand and Dr. Cole.
Neurology residents, program graduates, faculty members, and the education director talk about training at Mass General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
MGH Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit
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