Stroke

A stroke happens when blood flow to a part of the brain stops. A stroke is sometimes called a "brain attack". If blood flow is stopped for longer than a few seconds, the brain cannot get blood and oxygen. Brain cells can die, causing permanent damage.

There are two types of strokes; ischemic and hemorrhagic. An ischemic stroke is the most common type of stroke. Ischemia is a medical term that means an inadequate blood supply. Therefore, an ischemic stroke occurs when there is a blockage of a blood vessel in the brain. This blocks blood carrying oxygen and nutrients from reaching the area of the brain that the blood vessel supplies. The blockage can be caused by a blood clot that is formed in the heart and then travels to the brain, from cholesterol plaque buildup in the blood vessels, or when small vessels in our brain become damaged causing them to collapse. A hemorrhagic stroke is when a blood vessel in the brain burst or ruptures, thereby impeding blood flow to the brain. This can be caused by high blood pressure or abnormalities of the blood vessels, such as an aneurysm. 

Programs + Services


Vascular Surgery

Tufts MC Vascular Surgery manages arterial and venous diseases using innovative surgical techniques at our downtown Boston hospital.
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Neurocritical Care Program

The Neurocritical Care Program is located in downtown Boston. Our expertise focuses on treating and helping someone cope with a major brain injury or illness.
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Stroke Center

Our comprehensive stroke center treats a wide range of cerebrovascular disorders. Specializing in stroke prevention, acute stroke therapy and long-term stroke management.
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Stroke and Young Adults (SAYA) Program

Explore the Stroke and Young Adults Program at Tufts Medical Center, helping young adult and pediatric survivors navigate their lives after a stroke.
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Cerebrovascular and Endovascular Surgery

Our Neurovascular Surgery Program treats various diseases that occur within the blood vessels. Learn more about cutting edge minimally invasive treatment we offer.
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Doctors + Care Team

David E. Thaler, MD, PhD, FAHA

David E. Thaler, MD, PhD, FAHA

Accepting New Patients

Title(s): Neurologist-in-Chief; Chairman and Professor, Department of Neurology, Tufts University School of Medicine
Department(s): Neurology
Appt. Phone: 617-636-4948
Fax #: 617-636-8199

Stroke

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Adel M. Malek, MD, PhD

Adel M. Malek, MD, PhD

Accepting New Patients

Title(s): Chief, Neurovascular Surgery; Director, Cerebrovascular & Endovascular Division Professor, Tufts University School of Medicine
Department(s): Neurosurgery
Appt. Phone: 617-636-8200
Fax #: 617-636-7587

Aneurysms, arteriovenous malformations, dural fistulas, subarachnoid hemorrhage, intracranial atherosclerosis, arterial dissection

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Deborah Green-LaRoche, MD

Deborah Green-LaRoche, MD

Accepting New Patients

Title(s): Director of Clinical Research, Department of Neurology; Neurointensivist; Ex-chair, Women in Medicine and Science (WiMS); Associate Professor, Tufts University School of Medicine
Department(s): Neurology
Appt. Phone: 617-636-4948
Fax #: 617-636-8199

Neurocritical care, vascular neurology

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Joshua Kornbluth, MD

Joshua Kornbluth, MD

Accepting New Patients

Title(s): Medical Director, Neurosciences Critical Care Unit; Program Director, Neurology Residency and Neurocritical Care Fellowship; Neurologist; Assistant Professor, Tufts University School of Medicine
Department(s): Neurology
Appt. Phone: 617-636-4948
Fax #: 617-636-8199

Neurocritical care

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Katelyn Skeels, MSN, FNP-C

Katelyn Skeels, MSN, FNP-C

Title(s): Stroke Advanced Practice Nurse
Department(s): Neurology, Comprehensive Stroke Center
Appt. Phone: 617-636-5848
Fax #:

stroke

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Lester  Y. Leung, MD, MSc

Lester Y. Leung, MD, MSc

Accepting New Patients

Title(s): Director, Comprehensive Stroke Center; Director, Stroke and Young Adults (SAYA) Program; Assistant Professor, Tufts University School of Medicine
Department(s): Neurology
Appt. Phone: 617-636-4948
Fax #: 617-636-8199

Vascular neurology including stroke in young adults, ischemic stroke, intracerebral hemorrhage, cerebral venous sinus thrombosis, dissection, reversible cerebral vasoconstriction syndrome, vascular malformations, silent strokes and survivorship

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Xuemei  Cai, MD

Xuemei Cai, MD

Accepting New Patients

Title(s): Neurologist
Department(s): Neurology, Neurocritical Care
Appt. Phone: 617-636-4948
Fax #: 617-636-8199

Neurocritical care

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Research + Clinical Trials


A Phase 2, Multicenter, Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Add-On to Standard-of-Care Study of n-Butylphthalide (NBP) Softgel Capsules for Treatment of Mild to Moderate Acute Ischemic Stroke in Adult Subjects

The main purpose of this study is to learn the how safe the study drug, n-butylphthalide (NBP) is when added to your routine care. Other purposes of the study are to determine how the study drug is absorbed, distributed, broken down, and removed from the body, how well it works compared to placebo as measured by improvement of disability, recovery, and physical function after a stroke. Patients are randomized to either the study drug or a placebo and take pills twice daily for a month starting 12 hours from last-known well after stroke.
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Stroke and Young Adults: A qualitative assessment of the hospitalization for acute stroke, shared decision-making, and perception of risk

The purpose of this research study is to explore the challenges of recognizing stroke in young adults, the process of making treatment decisions, and the patient’s understanding of the risk of recurrence and long term consequences of stroke. This study consists of a 30 to 60 minute interview of patients with prior stroke (ischemic stroke, transient ischemic attack, or intracerebral hemorrhage) who were 18-50 years of age at the time of stroke onset.
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Cyberphysical Therapy for Enhanced Neuromotor Recovery in Stroke Survivor

The proposed research aims to combine the advantages of human and robotic post-stroke gait rehabilitation in a new approach called cyberphysical therapy (CBT). This paradigm allows therapists to remain actively involved in gait training while removing barriers limiting the effectiveness of traditional human-provided therapy: high effort and poor real-time feedback. In this innovative approach a therapist interacts with patients through coupled robotic arms that act as an extension of the therapist’s arm; this rehabilitative collaboration can take place either face-to-face or remotely by teleoperation. The central hypothesis is that combining the advantages of human and robotic gait rehabilitation approaches in CBT will significantly improve patient learning outcomes compared to traditional therapist-only and automated robotic gait training.
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AMPLATZER PFO Occluder Post Approval Study (PFO PAS)

Abbott developed the AMPLATZER™  PFO Occluder as a minimally invasive, transcatheter PFO closure treatment to further reduce the risk of recurrent stroke among patients with PFO and cryptogenic stroke beyond that achieved with medical management. This additional risk reduction is achieved by blocking the pathway for a venous embolism from reaching the body's arterial system and the brain. 

The safety and effectiveness of the AMPLATZER PFO Occluder was evaluated in RESPECT, a randomized controlled clinical trial conducted under an investigational device exemption (IDE), which was the largest trial of a transcatheter PFO closure device, with the longest follow-up. RESPECT demonstrated that the AMPLATZER PFO Occluder is effective in reducing recurrent ischemic stroke in subjects implanted with the device and can be implanted safely. The AMPLATZER PFO Occluder received market approval by FDA on October 28, 2016.

The purpose of this study is the continued evaluation of the long-term safety and effectiveness of the AMPLATZER PFO Occluder in a post approval setting. 


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AtRial Cardiopathy and Antithrombotic Drugs In prevention After cryptogenic stroke

ARCADIA is a multicenter, biomarker-driven, randomized, double-blind, active-control, phase 3 clinical trial of apixaban versus aspirin in patients who have evidence of atrial cardiopathy and a recent stroke of unknown cause. Eleven hundred subjects will be recruited over 2.5 years at 120 sites in the NIH StrokeNet consortium. Subjects will be followed for a minimum of 1.5 years and a maximum of 4 years for the primary efficacy outcome of recurrent stroke and the primary safety outcomes of symptomatic intracranial hemorrhage and major hemorrhage other than intracranial hemorrhage.
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