Desert Regional Medical Center’s stroke program

M. Asif Taqi, MD, explains the workings of the new biplane angiography suite as part of Desert Regional Medical Center’s stroke program.

Desert Regional Medical Center has launched an expansion of its stroke program which includes new technology and a new medical fellowship program.

“Desert Regional Medical Center has crossed the Rubicon in stroke care for our community,” said neurosurgeon Javed Siddiqi, MD PhD, medical director for the hospital’s Institute of Clinical Orthopedics and Neurosciences. “Desert Regional can now provide all modalities of stroke care; that care can start within minutes of arriving in our ER; that stroke victim can count on our huge manpower and institutional resources at their disposal 24/7.”

The new fellowship program is a partnership between Desert Regional Medical Center and the Arrowhead Neuroscience Foundation, which received a grant from the Desert Healthcare District to expand this program into the Coachella Valley. The program will train physicians in the specialty areas of neuro-critical care and neuro-interventional medicine. In interventional neurology, physicians insert a tiny catheter into the blood vessels of the brain to either remove a clot, or insert a coil of wire to fill an aneurysm and prevent bleeding. Both clots and bleeding in the brain are causes of a stroke.

“You can rest assured in the knowledge that, God forbid, you or a loved one have a stroke, there is a place in your community where you will get cutting-edge therapies, by specialists who choose to devote their lives and careers to doing this work, and to training the next generation of neurological subspecialists who will carry on this fight,” Siddiqi said.

New technology to support stroke care includes the installation of a new biplane angiography suite, which provides interventional neurologists with advanced capabilities for visualizing and navigating blood vessels as they treat the causes of stroke.

One of the key benefits of interventional treatment is that it can extend the window of time in which a patient might be successfully treated following a stroke, said M. Asif Taqi, MD, medical director of neuro-critical care at Desert Regional Medical Center. Traditionally, patients have up to three hours after a stroke to receive a clot dissolving drug treatment–called IVtPA. However, interventional neurology procedures, which physically remove a clot, may help certain stroke patients who have gone 6 hours or even longer after having the initial stroke–depending on how much of the brain tissue has survived the initial attack.

“It’s an exciting time for us as physicians,” said Taqi. “When I was a medical student, there was basically no treatment for stroke. From that, we have moved to clot-busting medications and now to this advanced technology. I cannot express enough my appreciation to Desert Regional Medical Center for helping to bring up the level of care.”

If you are having symptoms of stroke, call 911 immediately. For more information on Desert Regional Medical Center’s stroke patient care call Patty Ryan at (760) 449-5291 or visit

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