The Vancouver Stroke Program (VSP) provides highly specialized medical care for patients with stroke and cerebrovascular diseases, educates medical trainees, and conducts stroke related research. It is based out of Vancouver General Hospital but serves the Lower Mainland area and provides expert advice for physicians across the province.
Vancouver General Hospital (VGH) is a tertiary referral centre for patients with stroke and cerebrovascular concerns in B.C., providing both inpatient and outpatient medical care. In addition, stroke neurologists are available 24/7 to answer urgent stroke related advice requests from physicians across the province.
Inpatient/Emergency Stroke Care:
The VGH Stroke Service consists of neurologists with expertise in stroke and cerebrovascular disease that are available 24/7, 365 days a year to:
- emergently evaluate patients suffering from a possible acute stroke for potential thrombolysis in the form of IV tissue plasminogen activator(tPA) or other acute stroke treatments
- conduct urgent cerebrovascular consultations for VGH inpatients and patients in the emergency department
- answer stroke related advice requests from physicians around the province via the VGH Stroke Pager
- provide stroke care for inpatients on the VGH stroke ward
- evaluate patients for IV tPA via TeleStroke video conferencing at Peace Arch Hospital, Chilliwack Hospital and Powell River Hospital
Outpatient Stroke Care:
Outpatients with a stroke related concern are assessed in the VGH Stroke Prevention Clinic, which serves as a critical resource for emergency departments and physicians across the Lower Mainland taking care of patients with urgent cerebrovascular issues.
VGH Stroke Pager:
Stroke neurologists carry the VGH Stroke Pager 24/7 in order to respond to requests for emergent/urgent consultations and advice calls from physicians around the province.
Education for medical trainees is important to the Vancouver Stroke Program to ensure that future doctors are appropriately trained in stroke. There is a vascular neurology fellowship program offered by the Vancouver Stroke Program (see fellowship page for more details). Medical students, residents and fellows rotate on the VGH Stroke Service and attend the VGH Stroke Prevention Clinic. As well as inpatient and outpatient clinical teaching, there are weekly stroke rounds, cerebrovascular conference rounds and neuroscience grand rounds where more formal learning takes place.
In addition to educating trainees, the Stroke Program provides stroke education for specialist physicians, family physicians and the public. The annual Western Canada Stroke Conference is organized by the Vancouver Stroke Program and educates neurologists from B.C. and Alberta on stroke and cerebrovascular disease. Stroke neurologists give Grand Rounds, medical rounds and talks at CME events to educate physicians around the province and have tried to improve stroke knowledge in the community by participating in public forums held by the Heart and Stroke Foundation as well as televised interviews in multiple languages.
The Vancouver Stroke Program maintains an active profile in investigator-initiated research and has a long history as a recruiting site for clinical trials in acute stroke and secondary prevention. We are currently recruiting participants for 11 clinical trials.
From 2009 until 2013, the NIH-NINDS funded Secondary Prevention of Small Subcortical Strokes (SPS3), a multicenter international trial was coordinated from UBC. To date, 28 peer-reviewed publications and over 45 abstract presentations have been produced from the SPS3 database.
Stroke research is supported in part through a generous donation from the Heart and Stroke Foundation of British Columbia, which has established the Vancouver Stroke Program/Division of Neurology’s Clinical Trials Unit at the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health at UBC. For more information on research please see the “Research page”.