Critical Care and Vascular Neurology
The Department's division of Critical Care and Vascular Neurology faculty includes eight intensivists, all of whom are boarded in Neurocritical Care by the United Council of Medical Subspecialties; many also hold concurrent areas of specialization such as vascular neurology, neuroanesthesiology, and neurophysiology. We also have a fellowship program for board-eligible or certified physicians interested in subspecialty training in neurocritical care.
Watch our Christa Swisher, MD, discuss how she helps patients--as well as their families and loved ones--in our intensive care unit.
A team of experienced advanced practice acute care nurse practitioners work side by side with the medical staff to provide state-of-the art care for patients with neurological and neurosurgical critical illness, including traumatic brain and spinal cord injury, subarachnoid hemorrhage, intracerebral hemorrhage, ischemic stroke, and refractory seizures. The Duke Life Flight program has allowed patients with advanced and highly complicated neurocritical care disorders to be transferred to Duke from hospitals throughout North Carolina as well as Virginia, Tennessee, and South Carolina. Tethered to the NICU program is an expanding Tele-Stroke Network which provides local physicians rapid access to a team of Duke physicians skilled in the acute care of the stroke patient. Medical care is seamlessly integrated in a team approach with neurologists, neurosurgeons, and neuroanesthesiologists working together to provide hope to patients and their families in the midst of catastrophic neurological illness.
Research in the Neuroscience Critical Care Unit is a coordinated, multidisciplinary process. The unit has a diverse team of scientists with backgrounds in neurology, neurosurgery, anesthesia, electrophysiology, nursing, and cellular biology.
While bench science is high profile at Duke University, there is an equally strong emphasis on clinical and translational research in the Neurology Critical Care Unit.
Duke participates in a number of multicenter NIH trials, including the use of albumin in acute stroke (ALIAS), intracranial stenting in patients with symptomatic intracranial disease (SAMPRAS), clot aspiration in intracranial hemorrhage (MISTIE), and the use of thrombolysis for intraventricular hemorrhage (CLEAR IVH).
In addition, there are a large number of faculty-initiated studies, including the use of new noninvasive diagnostic modalities for detection of seizures, cerebral ischemia, and trauma, as well as studies looking at optimizing ventriculostomy and ICP management, evaluating nursing interventions to promote sleep and recovery, evaluating the role of therapeutic hypothermia, and piloting the use of statins in the setting of subarachnoid hemorrhage and acute brain injury just to name a few.
The high level of collaboration, combined with a dedication to improve the quality of care provided have made our multidisciplinary group highly productive over the past few years, and has made our unit a dynamic place to work.