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Albany Med Today

Enhanced Neuro Intensive Care Unit Opens in Patient Pavilion

Albany Medical Center opened its new expanded neuro intensive care unit, the most advanced of its kind in the region, for patient use in the new Patient Pavilion.

The 15-bed neuro ICU provides a comprehensive approach to caring for patients with severe neurologic injuries or conditions who require round-the-clock critical care. It is the only such unit in the region staffed by physicians including a neurointensivist, stroke neurologists, neurosurgeons and critical care specialists, as well as specially trained nurses. It comes equipped with the most advanced neurological monitoring equipment.

“Neurologically injured patients treated in a dedicated, specialized neuro intensive care unit such as that at Albany Medical Center have better survival rates, spend less time in the hospital, and are more often discharged to rehab or home rather than to a nursing home,” said Gary Bernardini, MD, PhD, professor of neurology and neurosurgery and director of  Stroke and Neurocritical Care at Albany Med. “In fact, comparisons made between treatment of these patients in dedicated neuro ICUs versus general ICUs show significant improvements in all three of these domains.”

Technology in the new unit includes sophisticated devices to monitor intracranial pressure, brain tissue oxygen and blood flow in the brain, and five rooms are hard-wired for continuous EEG brainwave monitoring. 

“The expanded and newly-equipped state-of-the-art neuro ICU will enable us
to better care for patients with life-threatening neurological emergencies such as ruptured brain aneurysms, strokes, traumatic brain injury and hemorrhages,” said Alan Boulos, MD, chair of neurosurgery at Albany Med. “Albany Med has always been fortunate to have a number of physician specialists to treat these specific disorders in a timely and effective way. 

Now, we have improved our ability to care for these patients immediately after surgery or treatment, resulting in improved outcomes and shorter lengths of stay.”

Albany Med also has a specialized vascular ICU, as well as surgical, medical and neonatal ICUs and the region’s only pediatric ICU. The previous neuro ICU, located in the hospital’s patient tower, was equipped to care for five patients.