Neurosciences

New Facilities and State-of-the-Art Technology

In 2015 Cayuga Medical Center completed a multi-year expansion and renovation to advance surgical care offered at the medical center. Our skilled neurosurgeons are now utilizing state-of-the–art operating rooms, expanding the excellent surgical care our patients can find close to home.

The Cayuga Epilepsy Center opened in June 2016. The new service provides comprehensive inpatient diagnostic monitoring for the treatment of adults and children over three years old who have epileptic seizures that have proven difficult to diagnose and treat. This unit is the only one of its kind in the Southern Tier.

Our newly renovated Neurodiagnostics Clinic comprises three testing rooms and is located on the medical center’s third floor, offering a view of Cayuga Lake. The clinic provides EEG (electroencephalogram) and EMG (electromyogram), which are the two principal neurological testing modalities used to confirm or to rule out several different diagnoses.

Experienced, Credentialed Professionals

Patients seeking care for neurological illnesses and injuries at Cayuga Medical Center are treated by board-certified experts in the fields of emergency medicine, neurology, neurosurgery, neurologic imaging, pain management, rehabilitation and physical medicine. They work closely with a team of experienced registered nurses, credentialed technologists, and physical, occupational, and speech therapists.

Our Commitment to Customer Service

Nowhere is the commitment to meet the needs of our community more evident than in the Department of Neurosciences. In the past three decades our neurological and neurosurgical capabilities have grown dramatically. These important services are strongly supported by our Department of Imaging Services (one of the most comprehensive in the entire region), the development of a certified stroke center, the excellence of our ED and our EMS community in the recognition and appropriate treatment of neurological illness and acute incidents, and most recently the development of an inpatient epilepsy diagnostic unit.

Designated Stroke Center

If you or a loved one comes to Cayuga Medical Center with signs of a stroke, you can take comfort in knowing that your medical center is a designated Primary Stroke Center. This means that we meet the high standards of diagnosis and treatment prescribed by the American Stroke Association and the New York State Department of Health. You will find yourself instantly at the center of a multidisciplinary group of emergency physicians, licensed independent practitioners,  nurses, neurologists, radiologists, and neurosurgeons..  These clinicians are available to respond 24/7 in the Emergency Department for the evaluation and treatment of stroke patients.

If you are admitted to Cayuga Medical Center for stroke, you will have access to intensivists, who specialize in critical care medicine and hospitalists, who specialize in hospital-based internal medicine.  If you have other conditions besides stroke that need treatment, such as heart disease, you may also see a sub-specialist, such as a cardiologist.  Other clinical experts that may help care for you include physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists, dieticians, ultrasound technicians, palliative care specialists, case managers, chaplains, and social workers.  In this way, Cayuga Medical Center can focus on treating you as a whole person and helping you achieve your best possible quality of life.

Stroke Alert

In the management of acute stroke, the pressing issue is time. A Stroke Alert calls the stroke response team into action and things happen very quickly. The timely administration of thrombolytic agents to dissolve a possible clot blocking blood flow to the brain, is vital to save brain cells.

  • The EMS responders start the process with their assessment of the patient in the field.
  • As soon as the ambulance calls in, the response begins. CT imaging techs are in the hospital 24-hours a day so they can immediately prepare the CT scanner and call the radiologist for stand-by alert.
  • Other stroke team members go to the Emergency Department where they are ready and waiting at the door to receive the patient.
  • Our neurologists collaborate closely with the stroke neurologists at the University of Rochester Medical Center, who direct the care of patients arriving with symptoms of stroke.

There are two types of stroke: Ischemic (caused by a clot or vessel narrowing that blocks the flow of blood in the brain) and hemorrhagic (caused by bleeding into the brain or an aneurysm that leaks or ruptures). By examining a CT scan of the brain, a radiologist can determine if the patient has had a stroke and which type of stroke it is. If diagnosed in time, ischemic strokes can be treated with thrombolytic (“clot-busting”) medication to dissolve the clot and restore blood flow in the brain.

As soon as the initial CT images are taken, they are transmitted to the radiologist for interpretation. Additional brain imaging studies can be helpful, as well, to determine the extent of the impact the stroke has had on the brain. These images are also available to our colleagues at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

A Stroke Alert at Cayuga Medical Center calls the clinical stroke team into action, at which point things happen very quickly. In the management of acute stroke, the pressing issue is time. If you arrive within four and a half hours of when you were last known to be well, you may be able to receive intravenous thrombolytic medicine to dissolve the clot blocking blood flow in the brain.  Even within that window, the faster you can receive treatment, the better your outcome is likely to be. However, even beyond that four-and-a-half-hour window, there may still be options for treatment, so do not hesitate to call 9-1-1 if you think you or a loved one is having a stroke.

When you call 9-1-1 for a suspected stroke, local emergency medical services (EMS) responders start the process with their assessment in the field. EMS responders are critically important to the stroke process because their assessments, interventions, and particularly their pre-notification prior to arrival at the hospital save precious time.  As soon as the ambulance calls the Emergency Department, the response begins. The first step in the stroke process is to immediately receive a computed tomography (CT) scan of the brain.  Therefore, our CT imaging technologists prepare the CT scanner and call the radiologist to put him or her on stand-by alert. Everyone else on the stroke team assembles in the Emergency Department to be ready and waiting at the door to receive the patient.

How to recognize a stroke

Signs and symptoms of stroke usually occur suddenly.  An acronym to help you remember not only the symptoms, but what to do is BE FAST:

  • Balance: Trouble walking, dizziness, or loss of balance or coordination
  • Eyes: Trouble seeing from one or both eyes
  • Face: One side of the face is drooping and/or numb
  • Arms:  Numbness or weakness of the arm, leg, or one side of the body
  • Speech: Confusion, trouble speaking (slurred speech or forming words), or understanding
  • Time: to call 9-1-1
  • The other symptom that may be present is a severe, unexplained headache, especially one that comes on quickly

If you or a family member has any of these symptoms, call 9-1-1 immediately. Do not try to drive yourself or the patient to the hospital – your symptoms could get worse while you’re driving.  Also, if you call 9-1-1, your care will start that much sooner: the hospital will know you are coming before you arrive and can get the team ready to care for you.  Even if your symptoms go away, you should still come to the hospital.  You may be having a transient ischemic attack (TIA), which is your body’s way of warning you that you might have a stroke in the future.  If this is the case, there are still steps that you and your healthcare providers can take to try and prevent a future stroke.

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Cayuga Medical Center Receives Get With The Guidelines-Stroke Gold Plus and Stroke Elite Quality Achievement Awards

Recognized by the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association for commitment to quality stroke care. 

A Diagnosis at Last

Aleisha Wilson’s blackouts went undiagnosed for decades until Cayuga Medical Center’s new epilepsy unit found the cause and a treatment.

About Cayuga Medical Center

We are a not-for-profit, acute-care medical center bringing state-of-the-art diagnostic and treatment services to the residents of Tompkins, Cortland, Seneca, and Tioga counties. And a century after our founding, we remain intrinsically tied to those we serve: our corporate membership includes representatives from over 100 community organizations. At Cayuga Medical Center, we believe that hospitals are shaped by the people they serve

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