Hospital's Award-Winning Stroke Center Expands Services | MedStar Health

Hospital's Award-Winning Stroke Center Expands Services

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Front entrance to MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center

Offering Quality Care Before, During, and After a Stroke 

When every minute counts, we’re ready and waiting. MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center is proud to welcome two stroke experts to our hospital, expanding our hospital’s award-winning stroke center’s services with full-time, on-site specialized care for people suffering an acute stroke and those recovering from a stroke.

On-site specialists means better stroke care

“When it comes to stroke, the most important thing is time,” Dr. Shah said. During a stroke, the brain’s oxygen supply is disrupted. With every minute that passes, more of the brain is damaged. There are effective stroke treatments available, including the “clot-busting” drug tPA, but patients must receive them within a narrow window of time in order for them to work.

With a stroke specialist on site full time, patients can expect timely evaluation and treatment for acute stroke, giving patients the best possible chance for a meaningful recovery and good quality of life. For complex stroke cases, an on-site neurologist can expedite a patient’s transfer to one of MedStar’s tertiary care facilities.

By your side during recovery

Dr. Constantino’s goal is to reduce the long-term disability that stroke can cause through a coordinated approach to rehabilitation that starts well before the patient leaves the hospital. “Rehabilitation is crucial to a patient’s improvement after a stroke,” she said. “The earlier rehabilitation can be started, the better the outcome for the patient, and the better quality of life the patient can have.”

Working in partnership with the rehabilitation center and the hospital’s occupational, speech, and physical therapists, Dr. Constantino helps patients navigate their recovery and rehabilitation after a stroke.

With Drs. Shah and Constantino aboard, the hospital plans to deepen the stroke center’s services and add complementary programs, including clinical trials, stroke prevention community education, and support for caregivers. Be sure to visit the hospital’s online newsroom for updates.

Know the warning signs of stroke

Check the National Stroke Association’s list of stroke symptoms, or just remember the acronym FAST to check for stroke warning signs:

F- Face: Ask the person to smile. Does the face droop? A- Arm: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward? S- Speech: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Does the speech sound slurred or strange? T- Time: If you observe any of these signs, then it's time to call 911.

If you or someone you know is having stroke symptoms, call 911 right away. 

For more information about stroke rehabilitation services or to make an appointment at the outpatient clinic, call patient services manager Valerie Stewart, MS, MBA, at (301) 877-4540.

Aabha Shah, MD, and Anne Constantino, MD

Aabha Shah, MDMedical Director of Stroke Services, MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center, and Assistant Professor of Neurology, MedStar Georgetown University Hospital

Dr. Shah attended medical school at India’s D. Y. Patil Medical College, Maharashtra University of Health Sciences. She completed an internal medicine residency at Flushing Hospital Medical Center and went on to complete a neurology residency at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Beth Israel Medical Center. She is a board certified neurologist and is currently a vascular neurology fellow at the National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.

Anne Constantino, MDNeurologist, MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, based at MedStar Southern Maryland Hospital Center

A board certified neurologist and movement disorder specialist, Dr. Constantino earned her medical degree from University of the East Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Medical Center in the Philippines. She completed her residency in neurology at the State University of New York at Syracuse and New York-Presbyterian Hospital-Weill Cornell Medical College before taking a movement disorders fellowship at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. Dr. Constantino has worked as a medical officer with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and has served on the academic medical faculty at several institutions, including the University of Louisville and New York University School of Medicine.