Cerebrovascular Medicine

The Division of Cerebrovascular Medicine, led by Raul Nogueira, MD, FAHA, FSVIN – who also serves as the director of the UPMC Stroke Institute – primarily treats stroke, a condition that arises due to brain damage because of an abnormal blood supply to the brain. The stroke team is available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, and they are dedicated to improving the care of each stroke patient at every stage of their disease; this means giving tips on prevention, accurate diagnosis and acute treatment, rehabilitation and follow-up care at locations across the UPMC system. In addition to the main location in Pittsburgh, the UPMC Stroke Institute has several community locations across Pennsylvania, including UPMC Altoona, Hamot, Harrisburgh, and others.

Stroke – the 2nd leading cause of death worldwide

Stroke is the second leading cause of death worldwide. Each year 700,000 people will suffer from a stroke – three-quarters of these patients will have suffered a stroke for the first time. 85% of these strokes are ischemic strokes, which is caused by a lack of blood flow to the brain, and can lead to seriously debilitating deficits in neurological function. Without proper treatment and care, it’s possible that suffering a stroke can lead to death.

Over the past several years, significant advancements in the treatment of stroke have allowed physicians to prevent long-term disability among stroke survivors, and the team members at the UPMC Stroke Institute have been at the forefront of developing cutting-edge treatments to help improve quality of stroke care to millions of patients at home and abroad.  

Research & Training

Research is a critical part of the overall mission of both the Cerebrovascular Medicine division as well as the UPMC Stroke Institute. The division actively engages in enrolling for multiple pivotal clinical trials that investigate new modalities of stroke prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation. Faculty within the division and the department of neurology at large consistently rank among the highest in the country when it comes to securing high-quality grant funding through NIH-funded federal and non-federal industry-based pathways.

The UPMC Stroke Institute is the home to the ACGME-accredited Vascular Neurology fellowship, which is offered through the University of Pittsburgh department of neurology. The fellowship has recently expanded to offer comprehensive, interdisciplinary training in vascular neurology to five board-certified or board-eligible neurologists each year. Each fellow will gain experience expertise in management of all aspects of cerebrovascular medicine and are also exposed to highly specialized procedures such as diagnostic and therapeutic angiographies, neurosonology, telemedicine, etc. Fellows are encouraged to develop a specific research project. Additionally, the UPMC Stroke Institute provides an additional year of dedicated research training through the NIH-funded StrokeNet program, as one of its regional coordinating centers.

Conditions Treated & Services Provided

Cerebrovascular Medicine division members within the UPMC Stroke Institute routinely provide services to patients in interdisciplinary and collaborative natures with physicians from different specialties, such as neurocritical care, neurointerventional radiology, neurosurgery, pharmacology, radiology, physical therapy, vascular therapy and cardiology in order to provide the highest quality of care to patients.

Conditions Routinely Treated

  • Acute ischemic stroke treatment with intravenous thrombolysis
  • Acute ischemic stroke treatment with endovascular therapy
  • Arterio-venous malformations
  • Cerebral aneurysms
  • Cerebral Vasculitis
  • Cervical artery dissections
  • Genetic causes of stroke
  • Intracerebral hemorrhages
  • Intracranial Atherosclerotic Disease
  • Moya Moya Disease
  • Pediatric stroke (Through the Center of Excellence at UPMC Children’s Hospital)
  • Strokes due to atrial fibrillation, as well as other factors due to stroke

Services Provided

  • Carotid Dopplers
  • Coiling of Aneurysms
  • CT Angiography
  • CT Scan
  • Digital Subtraction Angiography
  • Embolization of AVM’s
  • MR Angiography
  • MR Venography
  • MRI Vessel Wall Imaging
  • Transcranial Ultrasounds

Core Faculty