UPMC Bridging the Great Health Divide: Neurovascular Center of Excellence

Published: May. 12, 2023 at 11:29 PM EDT|Updated: May. 15, 2023 at 5:56 PM EDT
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BRIDGEPORT, W.Va (WDTV) -The Neurovascular Center of Excellence at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh is a multidisciplinary clinic where patients from all over the country come to have their needs met through open endovascular or radio surgery. We spoke with their surgeons to learn more in this edition of the Great Health Divide sponsored by UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.

Arteriovenous malformations are tangles of blood vessels most often found on the spinal cord and in the brain. They can disrupt blood flow and oxygen circulation.

Moyamoya disease is a narrowing of blood vessels in the brain which could lead to seizures and strokes.

These are two of the most common abnormalities treated at the Neurovascular Center of Excellence at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.

Doctor Alhamza Al-Bayati is an endovascular neurosurgeon. “What makes us kind of unique one stop shop if you will is we have the different technique and modality and tackling all the super vascular diseases,” he says.

“We can do basically an endovascular surgery where we go and the arm or the leg inside the blood vessel go with the small tube called a catheter, all the way to that malformation or lesion and try to embolize, which is another word for shutting down the arterial contribution to this area as much as safely possible to make that the rest of the surgery, the open surgery safer.”

Al-Bayati says communication between the surgical team is an asset to patients.

“What makes us unique and instead of traveling, seeing Doctor X and Doctor Y in two different States and then they communicate and try to do a collaborative work, here we bounce out ideas by each other when we see the patients in clinic and apply accordingly for their surgical treatment, if warranted.”

Dr. Stephanie Greene is the director of vascular neurosurgery at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. She says that the hospital is on the leading edge of treatment.

“We have some technology that’s not available everywhere,” Dr. Greene explains. e have an intraoperative MRI which makes some of our surgeries safer. We also have an intraoperative CT, so we don’t have to move patients all over the hospital. On a radiology front, we can do functional MRI’s which localize different functions to different parts in the brain. So we can see, say, where speech is relative to somebody’s arterial venous malformation and plan surgery more safely because of that. We also use a technique called fiber tracking that shows us how the nerve fibers are deviated around malformation. So that’s another thing that we do that helps make surgical planning safer.”

Both Al-Bayati and Greene are proud of the advanced work that they and their colleagues perform in Pittsburgh, which they say is among the best available in the country.

“Our research mission in University of Pittsburgh and UPMC in general and even more focused on the cerebral vascular diseases is really one of the top notch in the country, if not even in the world,” Dr. Al-Bayati says.

“I think it’s almost priceless to work with colleagues that you trust that you know are the best in the business and that are committed to patient safety and advancing care the way that you are,” Dr. Green says.

To learn more about the Neurovascular Center of Excellence at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, call 412-692-5137 or visit GreatHealthDivide@chp.edu