A new report from investigators at Boston Medical Center, Brigham and Women's Hospital, the New England Research Institutes and Massachusetts General Hospital describes international clinical trial.
Fireman Vascular Center
Stroke and Carotid Artery Disease Program
Stroke and Carotid Artery Disease Program
Fireman Vascular Center
55 Fruit Street
Boston, MA 02114
Hours: 8:300 AM to 5:00 PM
Explore This Treatment Program
Overview: a Multidisciplinary Approach to Vascular Care
The Mass General Fireman Vascular Center is one of the only vascular centers in the country with specialists in every area of vascular disease. Our clinicians are internationally recognized as experts and innovators in the diagnosis and treatment of carotid artery disease and stroke.
Our Stroke and Carotid Artery Disease Program brings together a team of clinicians from multiple disciplines to provide care from many perspectives, including:
- Interventional imaging
- Neurointerventional imaging
- Vascular and endovascular surgery
- Vascular medicine and interventional cardiology
We work together with the patient and referring physician to coordinate personalized treatment plans for all patients.
Diagnosis: Neurovascular Imaging Specialists
Our team of full time, board-certified imaging experts is made up of neurovascular radiologists, neurologists, vascular medicine and vascular surgery specialists who are specially trained to detect abnormalities in the vascular system and whose practice focuses specifically on vascular disease. Each specialist is trained in performance and interpretation of advanced neurovascular diagnostic tests.
Depending on the patient, we may use one or more diagnostic techniques, including:
- Duplex ultrasound
- CT scan
- Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA)
These tests are also available at our convenient Waltham location.
Stroke Prevention and Treatment
Preventing Stroke by Treating Carotid Stenosis
Our primary treatment goal is to prevent future stroke in patients through a combination of lifestyle changes, medical management and other interventions. Our neurovascular specialists guide patients through smoking cessation programs and work with cardiologists in the Corrigan Minehan Heart Center to treat heart disease. We encourage our patients to make the following lifestyle changes, if necessary:
- Avoid smoking
- Control blood pressure
- Maintain normal blood sugar levels for those with diabetes
- Eat a diet low in cholesterol and saturated fats
- Exercise regularly
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Take platelet-blocking medications, such as aspirin
If our physicians decide to use an interventional approach, we offer the following procedures:
- Carotid endarterectomy: This surgical procedure removes plaque blocking or narrowing a patient’s carotid artery and has been shown to be an effective and safe way to prevent stroke caused by carotid stenosis
- Angioplasty and stenting: This newer, minimally invasive technique involves threading a balloon-tipped catheter through the affected artery to expand it. A stent may be inserted to keep the artery open. The physicians at the Stroke and Carotid Artery Disease Program are leaders in the use of angioplasty and stenting for carotid stenosis and are involved in national trials evaluating this technology
A State-Designated Primary Stroke Center
In 2006 Massachusetts General Hospital physicians treated more stroke patients with an in-hospital stay than any other hospital in Massachusetts. A state-designated primary stroke center, Mass General provides emergency diagnostic and therapeutic services 24 hours a day, seven days a week to patients with symptoms of acute stroke. Our Stroke Service focuses on the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of all stages of stroke.
- These neurovascular specialists offer the following services to stroke patients:
- Preventive care and medical management of stroke risk factors
- Clot-dissolving medications (thrombolysis) and devices (thrombectomy)
- Surgical clipping or endovascular coiling of ruptured aneurysms (a cause of hemorrhagic stroke)
- Telestroke, which involves the use of videoconferencing and image sharing technology to diagnose and recommend treatments for patients at 12 community hospitals
Treatments and Care of Carotid Artery Disease and Stroke
Access to Promising New Treatments
The Fireman Vascular Center participates in most major clinical studies evaluating new technologies and medications to treat carotid stenosis. This allows us to bring our patients promising new treatments as quickly as possible. Some of these studies include:
- ACT 1: This innovative trial compares carotid endarterectomy with stenting in patients who have carotid stenosis but no symptoms. Dr. Rosenfield[LINK] is the national principal investigator of the ACT 1 trial. [LINK] Read more about the results of this study
- CREST: This trial looked at the efficacy of carotid endarterectomy versus stenting in patients with symptomatic carotid stenosis, and found that these two medical procedures are both equally safe and effective. These findings give physicians more options in tailoring treatments for their patients at risk for stroke.
Patients interested in participating in clinical trials should contact their provider to learn more.
One Call Coordinates Care
Our access coordinator is available Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm to take relevant information about your condition and symptoms and to make a timely appointment with the most appropriate specialist. Call 877-644-8346 or request an appointment online.
We strive to see patients as soon as possible and assign every patient one clinician to organize care between members of our multidisciplinary team. From diagnosis to treatment and follow-up, this physician guides patients through the treatment process.
Tracking Outcomes to Improve Care
The Fireman Vascular Center has taken the unprecedented step of independently following the outcomes of patients who have undergone procedures for carotid artery disease and stroke. While patients are in our care, we carefully document how they respond to treatment using the National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale.
We are one of the only hospitals in the nation to perform the Stroke Scale on patients scheduled for either carotid endarterectomy or carotid artery stent before and following their treatment. These tracking systems ensure we deliver quality care and inform the public about our success rates with unprecedented accuracy and objectivity.
Patients and family members can feel confident that our team is always striving to provide the best possible outcome.
Conditions We Treat
The care team at the Fireman Vascular Center encourages all patients and family members to learn more about conditions and diseases that affect the cardiovascular system. The links below provide more information about vascular conditions and diseases that might be treated within this program.
- Carotid Artery Disease: also called carotid artery stenosis, carotid artery disease occurs when the carotid arteries, the main blood vessels that carry oxygenated blood to the brain, become narrowed.
- Stroke: also called brain attack, occurs when blood flow to the brain is disrupted.
Jessica's Story: A Stroke Survivor
Jessica Diaz had a stroke caused by a small hole in her heart, which had allowed a blood clot to travel to her brain. As a young and active mother of two, Jessica worked with a team of Mass General doctors to not only repair her heart, but determine a treatment plan to minimize future health risks.
Meet Our Team
- Director MGH Vascular Lab
- Staff Story
- Jan | 10 | 2019
The Mass General Division of Vascular & Endovascular Surgery recognizes Peggy Leary, who ensures clinics run efficiently and that patients receive compassionate, high-quality care.
- Press Release
- Dec | 4 | 2017
Study Finds More Than 1 in 6 Patients With Peripheral Arterial Disease Who Undergo Revascularization Readmitted Within 30 Days
A study of nearly 62,000 hospitalizations nationwide has found that more than one in six patients with peripheral arterial disease who undergo revascularization procedures to restore blood flow to blocked leg arteries and other arteries outside of the heart are readmitted to the hospital within 30 days
- Staff Story
- Oct | 18 | 2017
The Mass General Division of Vascular & Endovascular Surgery showcases three medical assistants who ensure clinics run efficiently and patients receive compassionate, high-quality care.
- Aug | 23 | 2017
The Joint Commission recently certified Mass General as an Advanced Comprehensive Stroke Center, recognizing the specific capabilities of hospitals that can treat the most complex stroke cases.
- Jul | 4 | 2017
Sherry Scovell, MD, vascular surgeon at Mass General explains why it is important to start wearing compression socks when you are young.