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Neuroscience Institute

Diagnosis and Treatment

Associated programs include:


Comprehensive and coordinated trauma services

Allegheny General Hospital’s Shock Trauma Center has developed treatment protocols for the coordinated management and care of patients with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) across a comprehensive team including AGH trauma surgeons, emergency medicine physicians, anesthesiologists, radiologists, neurosurgeons, and other specialty physicians. Additional vital components of our team are paramedics and emergency medical technicians. Excellent, informed prehospital care of head injured patients is essential if they are to have every possible chance for maximal recovery. Continuous prehospital training and performance improvement through the AGH Office of Prehospital Care ensures up to date patient care protocols. Additionally AGH neurosurgeons were instrumental in developing the Guidelines for the Management of Traumatic Brain Injury

Spinal Cord Injury

AGH is a leading SCI treatment center utilizing the latest medical and surgical advances in this field. Dr. Wilberger serves on the Paralyzed Veterans of America guidelines development panel on the acute treatment of SCI. One of the major controversies in SCI care remains the role and timing of surgical decompression after SCI. To address this issue, AGH, along with five other leading SCI centers in North America proposed the STASCIS trial- Surgical Treatment of Acute Spinal Cord Injury- which was not funded by NIH but is being undertaken on a small scale at the present time in several centers.

Critical care management

At AGH, a 24 bed trauma/surgical intensive care unit promotes increased efficiency for the care of critically injury trauma patients, while focusing on making families comfortable. Each year nearly 2,000 patients receive care in the unit. Multimodality monitoring and targeted treatment protocols are supervised 24 hours a day by the dedicated neuro critical care team in concert with the neurosurgery faculty and residency staff.

Neuroscience Nursing

Excellent nursing care is integral and critical to optimal outcomes after TBI. AGH has one of the most highly trained neurosciences nursing staff in the area. Over 75% of the NeuroICU nurses have attained neuroscience nursing accreditation.


Neurorehabilitation care is initiated as soon after injury as possible. The team is lead by a specially trained physiatrist, who develops and directs a comprehensive early rehabilitation plan. Extensive use is made of neuropsychological testing to define and more specifically treat areas of deficit, especially in patients with minor TBI. In addition, AGH works with other institutions, community resources and support groups to assist the patient and their families as they cope and adjust to the changes in their lives.

Traumatic Brain Injuries in athletes

TBI accounts for more than 20% of all injuries suffered in competitive athletics. The incidence of minor TBI appears to be rising in virtually all sports. This increase has raised concern regarding over the possible cumulative effects of multiple concussions in athletes. Each athletic related minor TBI must be taken in context with the athlete’s particular circumstances. AGH neurosurgeons have extensive experience treating athletes with mild and severe brain injury. Decisions on the safety of return to play are carefully considered after appropriate clinical, neuropsychological and radiographic testing.

Think First

AGH is the lead state chapter in Pennsylvania for the Think First program. Inaugurated in 1984, this nationally recognized injury prevention program attempts to educate lower and middle school children about the consequences of a head or spinal cord injury and the types of behaviors that can decrease the risk of these devastating injuries. Yearly the program is presented to over 10,000 children and adolescents in western Pennsylvania.


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