Meeting the highest standards for stroke care
The Comprehensive Stroke Center at Tufts Medical Center in downtown Boston cares for and treats patients with cerebrovascular disorders ranging from carotid artery narrowing without symptoms to transient ischemic attack (TIA) to the most severe forms of stroke. We also research new diagnostic tests and treatments for stroke while training rising medical professionals.
Our neurologists, who are board-certified in vascular neurology, work with patients directly and coordinate the efforts of other Tufts MC specialists to offer:
- Primary stroke prevention for at-risk patients
- Acute treatment when a stroke occurs
- Secondary prevention following a stroke
- Long-term care, including rehabilitation, following a stroke
- Long-term care for young adults who have had a stroke early in life
We strive to treat every patient with compassion and a personal touch. And we're dedicated to meeting the highest standards for stroke care. In fact, our program earned the American Stroke Association's Get With the Guidelines — Stroke Gold Plus with Target Stroke Performance Achievement Award in 2012. The honor recognizes our success in ensuring stroke patients receive treatment that adheres to the latest scientific guidelines.
Meet our Program Director, Dr. David Thaler
David Thaler, MD, PhD, FAHA, an internationally renowned expert in stroke and cerebrovascular disease, has led the Comprehensive Stroke Center since 1998. His clinical interests include:
- Acute management of cerebrovascular disease
- Secondary stroke prevention
- Treating younger adults with strokes
- Management of stroke and patent foramen ovale
- Management of patients with arterial dissection
Outside of his clinical practice, Dr. Thaler is active on the research front. For example, he and Tufts MC's David Kent, MD are principal investigators in the National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke-sponsored Risk of Paradoxical Embolism (RoPE) study. This international collaboration aims to characterize the natural history of stroke and PFO. In recent years, Dr. Thaler has spoken about PFO at conferences worldwide.
In addition to our senior neurologists, our core team includes neurointensivists, a clinical nurse coordinator and clinical and research fellows. In order to deliver the most comprehensive care, we regularly team up with colleagues in cardiology, vascular surgery, neurosurgery, physiatry/rehabilitation, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech and swallowing pathology, and other areas.
From prevention through rehabilitation
Ideally, your first interaction with our program comes before you've suffered a stroke. In this case, we focus on stroke prevention through medications and/or lifestyle changes. Our clinical nurse practitioner is instrumental in educating patients and families in this regard.
If you come to the Tufts MC Emergency Department following a stroke, you can take comfort in knowing we're a stroke-certified institution. Upon your arrival, our stroke code team immediately evaluates you to determine which treatments are available to open the blocked blood vessel as quickly and safely as possible.
For all stroke patients, we need to determine why the blockage occurred. Our program offers all the latest diagnostic tests, including transcranial ultrasound, and can consult with other Tufts MC specialists to reach a definitive diagnosis.
Post-stroke treatment focuses on preventing further strokes via medications and/or lifestyle changes. Some of our patients stay at the Michael Neely Neuroscience Center at Tufts MC, which opened in 2011 and features the latest treatment technology. Unlike general intensive care units, this 15-bed facility is staffed only by medical professionals who specialize in treating critically ill neurological and neurosurgical patients.
While many of our patients undergo rehabilitation close to their homes, Tufts MC does have a Stroke Rehabilitation Clinic, which helps patients regain function and independence. It's just one more example of our commitment to providing comprehensive care for stroke and other cerebrovascular disorders.
Tufts Medical Center is one of the few hospitals to offer an Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education-approved vascular neurology fellowship. Learn more.