Another Joint Commission Certification Survey Next Week

After hosting surveyors from The Joint Commission earlier this week for the Comprehensive Stroke Certification survey, we’ll be hosting surveyors on the University Campus again on Monday, February 4 and Tuesday, February 5 for a Ventricular Assist Device (VAD) Certification survey. Becoming Joint Commission certified promotes a culture of excellence across the organization, aligning with the Joint Commission standards of promoting an environment of continuous improvement. Areas the surveyors may visit include the emergency department, the 3 Lakeside intensive care and step down units, the operating room, the post anesthesia care unit and cardiac outpatient services at the Ambulatory Care Center. This will be the Medical Center’s second Joint Commission disease specific certified program visit, after a successful Comprehensive Stroke Center site visit earlier this week.

Twelve-year-old Takes the Wheel During Medical Emergency

Benjamin Bubis Photo Courtesy: Telegram & Gazette

Benjamin Bubis, a 12-year-old seventh-grader from Canton, Massachusetts, was traveling to soccer practice when the driver, his grandfather Boris Hutorin, became unresponsive on I-495. Benjamin said, “I was a little scared, but I knew I had to control myself and figure out what I had to do.” While steering the still-moving vehicle, he called his mother, called 911, and brought the car to a safe stop. Emergency responders brought Mr. Hutorin to our Medical Center where he underwent a stroke thrombectomy, a procedure only a few large academic medical centers perform. Benjamin’s heroic actions have gone viral since the events of last week, being picked up by more than 50 television news programs and more than 180 online news services nationwide. See the coverage: Juli McDonald, WBZ; Ted Daniel, Boston 25 News; Eric Kane, 7 News Night Team; The Boston Globe; Telegram & Gazette; The Boston Herald; New York Times Online.

Dr. Silver Discusses High Blood Pressure and Stroke in Consumer Reports

Brian Silver, MD

Brian Silver, MD, interim chair, Department of Neurology, recently discussed how high blood pressure increases stroke risk in a Consumer Reports article titled, “6 Ways to Lower Your Stroke Risk.” According to the article, many strokes can be avoided. In fact, 10 risk factors, which can all be lowered, are responsible for about 90 percent of strokes, according to a study published in 2016 in The Lancet. “High blood pressure damages the inner lining of your blood vessels, which can lead to blockage within the artery wall,” Dr. Silver said.  Read Consumer Reports.



New Telemedicine Platform Enhances Stroke Care

Wiley Hall, MD, TeleStroke program director

When someone suffers a stroke, “time is brain.” This often-cited phrase means the faster a patient is evaluated as a candidate for the clot-busting drug tPA, the better his or her chance of recovery. That is why our TeleStroke Program is so vitally important to community hospitals with limited neurology services. Since our program launched in 2009, we have delivered more than 9,000 teleneurology consults over interactive video, ensuring that patients across Central Massachusetts and Northern Connecticut receive the timely care they need. Given the importance of this service, we recently invested in a new telemedicine platform called Avizia ONE by American Well. This new platform improves access and reliability through a streamlined workflow and browser-based video consultations. “The time from activation to me being with the patient has decreased to just minutes,” said Brian Silver, MD, neurology and vascular neurology. “And when time is brain, minutes matter!

Telegram Touts Watchman Procedure for Reducing Stroke Risk

Pictured from left are electrophysiology team members Nikos Kakouros, MD; Bryon Gentile, MD; Kevin Floyd, MD, MS; and Nicole Navis, NP.

It took Kevin Floyd, MD, electrophysiologist, and his team only about 20 minutes one day last April to negate a major threat to the health and possibly even the life of 86-year-old Northboro resident Bucky Rogers. That threat came from what Dr. Floyd terms a “nuisance,” a small part of the heart’s anatomy called the left atrial appendage. It serves no good purpose anyone knows of, but its existence can be deadly for people like Bucky, whose heartbeat can sometimes become disorganized and chaotic. Luckily for him, a procedure using the Watchman device has been done 60 times at our Medical Center, allowing for atrial fibrillation patients to get off blood thinners while reducing the risk of stroke. Read the full article in the Telegram & Gazette.

Register Today: Join Walk to Fight Heart Disease and Stroke

Now that spring is almost here, it’s time to start thinking about the Central Massachusetts Heart Walk coming up Saturday, May 12 at Quinsigamond State Park, Lake Park, Worcester. Come and enjoy views of the lake during this 2.5- or 5-mile walk to help fight heart disease and stroke. Visit the Heart Walk website, and register with Team UMass Memorial. Then create your own personal webpage on which you can share your story, upload pictures and videos, track your progress, and send emails to friends and family! We look forward to another great year and hope you can join us again! Need help or have questions? Contact our Heart Walk team at or 508-499-6266.

American Health Council Names Dr. Moonis to Physician Board

Dr. Moonis

Congratulations to Majaz Moonis, MD, director of the Director Stroke Prevention Clinic, who has been selected to join the Physician Board at the American Health Council. See story. Dr. Moonis is also the director of the Stroke Fellowship Program and a professor of neurology at the Medical School. He will share his knowledge and expertise in neurology, psychiatry, sleep medicine, cerebrovascular disease and epilepsy in this prestigious role. With more than three decades of experience in the field of neurology, Dr. Moonis’ day-to-day responsibilities include participating in numerous sleep, stroke and epilepsy studies, clinical rotations, and educating medical students, residents and fellows.

Remember ‘BE FAST’ in Recognition of National Stroke Month

Time is critical when a patient or loved one is having a stroke, which is why it’s important to recognizing the symptoms. BE FAST is an easy acronym to help one recognize the symptoms of stroke. It stands for: balance, eyes, face, arms, speech and time. Download this flyer to become familiar with the symptoms, and share this important information with others. Visit Mary Rucho, RN, NP, at an informational table on stroke awareness May 24 and 31, University Campus, near the gift shop. And remember, if you suspect someone is having a stroke, call 911 immediately.

Dr. Wakhloo Joins Team to Develop Drug-Device for Stroke Patients 

Dr. Wakhloo

Dr. Wakhloo

Ajay Wakhloo, MD, PhD, director of the Division of Neuroimaging and Intervention, is working with a team of scientists from the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University. The group is developing a highly effective drug-device combination for treating life-threatening blood clots in patients with stroke. In a new study that will appear in the December 2015 issue of Stroke, the team describes their novel method to quickly dissolve away clots that completely obstruct blood vessels in the brain. Their approach combines an injectable clot-busting nanotherapeutic that targets blockages with an intra-arterial device that restores blood flow to obstructed vessels. Read more.

Remember Importance of FAST during American Stroke Month

American-Stroke-Month-2-A stroke is a sudden problem that affects the blood vessels of the brain. It’s the fourth leading cause of death in the United States, but up to 80 percent of all strokes are preventable. Each person has unique symptoms based on his/her health and risk factors. Prevention and early detection are key factors in identifying and successfully treating neurological conditions. Learn more about stroke care at our Medical Center, and learn how to act F-A-S-T.