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Staff at the Stroke & Brain Aneurysm Center

A milestone has been reached related to stroke and brain aneurysm care—the fifth anniversary and more than 7,000 patients treated through the Stroke & Brain Aneurysm Center of Long Island at Catholic Health's Good Samaritan University Hospital (West Islip, NY). Elected officials, representatives from community organizations, hospital and system leadership and staff joined together to celebrate this unique program. In addition, brain aneurysm survivor Maria Rizzuto told her compelling story of uncertainty, fear and life with an unruptured brain aneurysm.
The Stroke & Brain Aneurysm Center of Long Island at Good Samaritan University Hospital is one of the most highly-recognized programs of its kind. In fact, it is the only program on Long Island to be named a Comprehensive Stroke Center by both the Joint Commission and the NYS Department of Health. Programs earn a Comprehensive Stroke Center designation by providing minimally invasive endovascular treatment and meeting specific guidelines related to diagnosis, treatment and outcomes. The hospital was also honored by the American Heart Association with its Get With the Guidelines Gold Plus Quality Achievement Award with Target: Stroke Honor Roll Elite and Advanced Therapy Award.
“Congratulations to Dr. Kimon Bekelis and the team of the Stroke & Brain Aneurysm Center for this incredible milestone, said Good Samaritan University Hospital President Ruth E. Hennessey.” Residents are blessed to have such an advanced, life-saving program like this close to home in Suffolk County. I look forward to seeing what the next five years brings for this incredible team.” 
In addition to stroke treatment through neurointervention, Good Samaritan University Hospital has also focused on the minimally invasive treatment of brain aneurysms through endovascular procedures. With more than 1-in-50 people having an unruptured brain aneurysm, and 40% of those becoming fatal, awareness of symptoms and fast treatment options is of utmost importance.

Symptoms include some or all of the following:

  • Severe headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Stiff neck
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Seizure
  • A drooping eyelid
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Confusion

Maria Rizzuto knows these symptoms well, living with an unruptured aneurysm for more than five years. Physicians throughout the region provided her with conflicting information. She was told to have a screening completed every other year and they would “watch” the aneurysm. Then she was referred to Kimon Bekelis, MD and team from the Stroke & Brain Aneurysm Center of Long Island at Good Samaritan University Hospital.
“I lived in fear as to when this ticking time bomb was going to go off,” said Maria. “Dr. Bekelis performed the procedure, placed the stent and I remember feeling amazing. I asked him to go home the same day. I went home the morning after feeling great! I have vowed to make it my mission to spread awareness. I know I am a small fish in a little pond, but if I can save one life from my outreach and story, my life would be meaningful.”
Learn more about Catholic Health's stroke services.

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