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Neurocritical Care Division

Neurocritical care is a branch of Neurology and Neurosurgery that deals with life-threatening diseases of the nervous system, which are those that involve the brain, spinal cord and nerves.

VCU Medical Center’s Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit (NSICU) is state-of-the-art and the largest in the state of Virginia, equipped with 20 beds dedicated to providing outstanding neurocritical care service for a variety of challenging conditions 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Every patient in the Neuroscience ICU is managed by a highly trained, specialized, multidisciplinary team that provides a collaborative effort between neurointensivists, neurosurgeons, neurologists, radiologists, pharmacists, critical care nurses, respiratory therapists, nutritionist, rehabilitation therapists and social workers who all work together to achieve coordinated care for the critically ill patient.

Patients in the NSICU are co-managed by board certified NSICU attending-physicians and the attending physicians and residents of the admitting service- the Department of Neurology and the Department of Neurosurgery.

The NSICU boasts  4 attending physician neurointensivists (Departments of Neurology, Anesthesia and Critical Care Medicine), who provide care 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with an additional as needed resource intensivist who is in-house every night.  Neurosurgeons and Neurologists are available to admit patients at any time. Resident physicians from the Departments of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Anesthesiology work round the clock to foster an environment of safety and recovery

The NSICU is an essential component of VCU comprehensive stroke center. The first and only comprehensive stroke center in Virginia.

The Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit has received the Beacon Award for critical care excellence from the American Association of Critical Care Nurses in 2010 and forward.

 

Conditions treated by our specialists include the following:  

  • Subarachnoid hemorrhage
  • Intracerebral hemorrhage (bleeding strokes)
  • Ischemic strokes (strokes from clots)
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Brain Tumors
  • Difficult to treat seizures  / Status Epilepticus
  • Infections of the central nervous system (Meningitis / Encephalitis)
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
  • Myasthenia Gravis
  • Post-Operative Neurosurgical patients
  • Any critical care needs for neurology and neurosurgery patients.


NSICU Staff Physicians:

Ahmad Bayrlee, MD
Assistant Professor, Neurology and Neurocritical Care
Co-Director, Neuroscience ICU

Courtenay E. Leahman, MD
Medical Neurointensivist and Associate Co-Director for Critical Care, NSICU
Assistant Professor and Division Director, Division of Critical Care Medicine
Department of Anesthesiology
Assistant Professor, Department of Neurology

Kristin Miller, MD
Assistant Professor, Internal Medicine
Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine
Neurointensivist

Anand Karthik Sarma, MD
Assistant Professor, Neurology and Neurocritical Care

NSICU Nurse Manager
Mary Alice Conte, MSN, RN, CNRN, CNML

NSICU Nurse Clinician
Chris Szabo, PhD, RN, CNRN, CCRN


NSICU Pharmacists

Gretchen M. Brophy, PharmD, BCPS, FCCP, FCCM, FNCS

Professor of Pharmacotherapy & Outcomes Science and Neurosurgery

Lisa Kurczewski, PharmD, BCPS
Clinical Pharmacy Specialist, Neurocritical Care