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New Monument Health team offers advanced intervention for stroke victims

PHOTO LINK: From left, Interventional Neurologist Jae H. Kim, M.D., Neurologist Lien Diep, M.D., and Interventional Cardiologist Joseph Tuma, M.D., stand in the new hybrid operating room at Monument Health Rapid City Hospital. 

RAPID CITY, S.D. (May 18, 2022) – During a stroke, a fast, appropriate medical response can mean the difference between life and death, or between full recovery and lifelong disability. A team of specialists at Monument Health Rapid City Hospital has created a comprehensive stroke program to coordinate care from the earliest stages of diagnosis to rehabilitation and recovery.

The primary causes of stroke are a blocked artery (ischemic stroke) or a leaking or bursting blood vessel (hemorrhagic stroke). In both cases, the flow of blood to the brain is impeded.  “Time is brain,” said Neurologist Lien Diep, M.D., Medical Director of the new stroke program. “For every minute the brain goes without blood, 1.9 million brain cells die.”

Augmenting the new team, Monument Health recently completed construction of a new hybrid operating room at Rapid City Hospital. It’s an advanced procedural space that combines a traditional operating room with an image-guided interventional suite.

A state-of-the art biplane cineangiography system is located right inside the hybrid OR. It produces sophisticated real-time, three-dimensional imaging of the head and neck vessels. This allows interventional neurologists, interventional cardiologists, cardio-vascular surgeons and other specialists to perform a variety of surgeries and procedures, including some that have never been offered before in Rapid City.

In addition, Interventional Neurologist Jae H. Kim, M.D., has joined the Monument Health Neurology and Rehabilitation Clinic in Rapid City. Dr. Kim performs clot retrievals, aneurysm care and a broad variety of interventions for blocked and ruptured blood vessels in the brain.

“The addition of Dr. Kim and his team to Monument Health represents a dramatic step forward as we continue to advance the services we provide to our patients in the Black Hills,” said Interventional Cardiologist Joseph Tuma, M.D. “By offering cutting edge, catheter-based treatment of acute stroke, carotid artery disease and vascular abnormalities of the brain, the Neuro Interventional team at Monument Health will undoubtedly have a major impact on the outcomes of many patients and their loved ones.”

The stroke team is also setting up systems and procedures to quickly recognize, diagnose and begin treatment of stroke victims as soon as they arrive in Monument Health Emergency Departments in Custer, Lead-Deadwood, Spearfish and Sturgis, Dr. Diep said. The patients will then be rushed to Rapid City Hospital for surgery or other advanced treatment.

Dr. Diep said her plan is to extend this stroke response network to hospitals in Wyoming, Nebraska and western South Dakota. The sooner a patient can be stabilized and sent to Rapid City Hospital, the more favorable the expected outcome.

Depending on the case, treatment can require intervention by a combination of neurosurgeons, interventional neurologists, cardiologists, internal medicine specialists, intensive care specialists, family practice doctors, emergency medicine physicians, rehabilitation staff and social workers.

“It takes a whole village to build this program,” said Dr. Diep.


Dan Daly
Monument Health

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