It wasn’t long ago that Silver Cross patients suffering stroke had to be transferred to another facility to get the advanced care they needed. That was until Dr. Harish Shownkeen, a nationally renowned interventional neuroradiology clinician and researcher, set-up shop at Silver Cross Hospital in late 2012. Since then, Dr. Shownkeen and his colleagues with the Silver Cross Neuroscience Institute have cared for hundreds of stroke patients—some are now even being transported to Silver Cross from other area hospitals for this lifesaving treatment.
Medical Director of the Neuro Interventional Surgery Program at Silver Cross Hospital, Dr. Shownkeen uses minimally invasive techniques to diagnose and treat disorders of the blood vessels of the brain, head, neck and spinal cord.
“This is a lower risk and faster alternative to traditional surgery for treating and preventing many neurological conditions, including aneurysms, strokes, blocked or narrowed arteries, malformed blood vessels and tumors,” says Dr. Shownkeen.
Many procedures require only a small incision in the groin where Dr. Shownkeen inserts a catheter threading it through blood vessels to the site of the injury guided by X-rays. He is able to perform many procedures in Silver Cross Hospital’s state-of-the-art Endovascular Suite that historically have only been available at academic medical facilities including:
- Brain aneurysm repair using self-expanding coils, quick-setting polymers, stents and balloons to prevent rupturing
- Stroke treatment and prevention using balloon angioplasty and stents to widen narrowed blood vessels, clot dissolving drugs, mechanical blood clot removal and clot suction devices
- Malformed blood vessel repair to block off abnormal vessels
- Tumor treatment using various techniques to block blood flow to abnormal tissues.
“Most patients receiving interventional neuroradiology treatments spend 24 hours in the hospital and are able to resume normal activities within days of the procedure,” says Dr. Shownkeen. “Depending on the seriousness of the disease or injury, some patients may require additional care. Fortunately, we have some of the most experienced specialists in the Chicago area offering the full continuum of care right here at Silver Cross including neurosurgeons, neuro interventional radiologists, neurologists, pulmonologists, and specialists from RIC—The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago.”
Silver Cross has partnered with RIC, which has been ranked the “Best Rehabilitation Hospital in America” by U.S. News & World Report every year since 1991. Patients benefit from RIC at Silver Cross’ 24-bed inpatient rehabilitation unit as well as four outpatient facilities—at the hospital, Homer Glen, New Lenox (Route 30) and West Joliet.
In addition to caring for patients, Dr. Shownkeen is a champion for prevention lecturing extensively in the community on the common signs and symptoms of stroke. He is constantly participating in several research studies for new treatments and leads continuing education conferences and workshops attracting thousands of physicians, nurses and paramedics throughout greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana areas.
“Each year, nearly 800,000 Americans suffer a new or recurrent stroke. That means on average, a stroke occurs every 40 seconds,” adds Dr. Shownkeen. “And, I have made it my personal mission to do everything I can to prevent it from happening or re-occurring.
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