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Neuroangio Suite
marking pathway to high-tech neurological care

by Dawn Brazell
Public Relations
Not having to stay at work until midnight has M. Imran Chaudry, M.D., smiling. So is the rest of MUSC’s cerebrovascular team. Members have been waiting a couple of years to be able to use an expanded neuroangio suite that will allow them to better handle the high volume of cases MUSC is receiving.

Dr. Aquilla Turk sits in the control room where doctors use angio-based perfusion imaging.

Chaudry, a neurointerventional radiologist, sits in the control room and pulls up angio-based perfusion imaging of a patient’s brain. The patient, a recent success story, had been referred from another hospital eight hours after her stroke. She had paralysis on her right side, was experiencing difficulty in speaking and was outside the accepted time period for conventional stroke treatment.

These images were taken during a recent coiling procedure, using a new device, to repair and aneurysm. Visit

“The team was able to quickly open a blocked middle cerebral artery using a novel thrombectomy device, the penumbra aspiration system. She was able to walk out of the hospital two days later — completely normal,” said Chaudry.

It’s just one example of how this suite will be saving lives.

A ribbon cutting will be held at 2 p.m. Nov. 22 on the 3rd floor of the university hospital in radiology to celebrate the opening of the suite. Expanding the existing facilities from 1,450 to 3,450 square feet, the suite features a procedure room with a shared control room between the two procedure areas. The almost $2.5 million renovation includes a Siemens Artis Zee biplane unit, which offers advanced 3-D imaging.

Raymond Turner, M.D., director of the Comprehensive Stroke and Cerebrovascular Center, Department of Neurosurgery, said the expansion will allow the team to better handle its caseload, particularly as MUSC’s reputation in handling stroke and cerebrovascular disease has grown.

Historically, South Carolina has had the worst track record in the country for stroke outcomes, he said. The stroke belt is a region of the Southeast that has a high prevalence of stroke and cerebrovascular disease.

“South Carolina is in the heart of the stroke belt. We’re the buckle of the stroke belt,” he said. “As the No. 1 cause of disability in the U.S. and number three cause of death, stroke is a devastating disease.”
The past three years, MUSC has responded to this problem by investing millions in recruiting world-renowned physicians in stroke neurology, neurointerventional radiology and endovascular neurosurgery, he said. The suite underwent an upgrade, which also resulted in an increase in the volume of stroke patients being treated.

“Fortunately, it also has resulted in outstanding results in patient care that is setting a new benchmark for clinical outcomes. Over the past three years, we have moved MUSC from relative obscurity in stroke care to a program that is on a very short list as being one the busiest and best programs in the country.  It is because of this massive increase in volume, that the second room is needed.”

Dr. Raymond Turner

Turner said they are asked to present at conferences on why MUSC’s approach works so well. One part of the equation is the world-class specialists the hospital has in stroke neurology, neurocritical care, neurointerventional radiology and endovascular neurosurgery. They also have an innovative telemedicine program with outreach to rural areas lacking such specialists. Couple that with an administration willing to invest in the latest technology, and MUSC has one of the finest centers in the nation, he said.

“Having two, state-of-the-art neurovascular angio suites means no patient has to wait — and when 1.9 million neurons die every minute during a stroke —  every minute, every second counts.  It also means these patients have access to a level of care that is unprecedented — from multicenter clinical trials that are run out of MUSC to novel devices that are not available at most centers in the country.”
The latest example of this is MUSC’s research partnership with SUNY — Stony Brook and Siemens, where MUSC is validating the perfusion technology that is based on angiography.

“We already have the ability to acquire CAT scan imaging from our angio suite without taking the patient to a CT scanner, but we also can now look at the blood flow to see if the brain cells are getting enough blood to allow them to recover or not. This is critical for a patient who is having a stroke. Everything we do is based on the presumption of a survivable brain — we’re working on a technology that will give us that answer in real time.”

Friday, Nov. 19, 2010

The Catalyst Online is published weekly by the MUSC Office of Public Relations for the faculty, employees and students of the Medical University of South Carolina. The Catalyst Online editor, Kim Draughn, can be reached at 792-4107 or by email, Editorial copy can be submitted to The Catalyst Online and to The Catalyst in print by fax, 792-6723, or by email to To place an ad in The Catalyst hardcopy, call Island Publications at 849-1778, ext. 201.