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Neurosurgeons from around the world joined CHI St. Vincent officials, doctors and city leaders Friday night to celebrate the opening of Arkansas Neuroscience Institute Research and Education Center.

Located next to the CHI St. Vincent North hospital in Sherwood, the center is part of a $30 million project meant to facilitate neurosurgeons' training and improve outcomes for patients.

The goal, officials said, is to create a "destination" for neurosurgery and education in Arkansas that invites global collaborators.

"Fourteen months ago, we stood on an empty lot," CHI St. Vincent CEO Chad Aduddell said. "Now [those surgeons] will be here every day."

At a reception in the lobby of the new facility, officials gave remarks from a balcony festooned with the flags of Finland, Japan, Turkey and other countries representing the visiting doctors, many of whom previously came to the state to train with Arkansas Neuroscience Institute Director Dr. Ali Krisht.

Though several who spoke credited Krisht's vision as the driving force behind the new facility, the neurosurgeon didn't agree.

"I cannot take the credit for initiating this. ... What we have is the same goal that Dr. [Ossama] Al-Mefty had," Krisht said, referring to the mentor he came to Arkansas to study under, and for whom a teaching lab at the center is named.

"If anyone in this world has a neurological problem, we want to be the first place they call."

Krisht has been with the institute for a decade and this year received the Herbert Olivecrona Award, an international honor nicknamed the "Nobel prize of neurosurgery."

Both Krisht and Aduddell said the opening of the facility was just the beginning of efforts to expand the hospital system's neurosurgery program and bring more specialists into the area.

On a brief tour with reporters, Krisht said aspects of the center -- which include more-private exam rooms and plentiful natural light -- were designed to create a "pleasant" environment for people who are sick.

"The stress of being in a hospital with a neurological problem is enough pressure for the patient," he said.

Other features include a microsurgery laboratory that uses the Aboud model, a device created by an Arkansas Neuroscience Institute doctor which circulates a blood-like liquid through cadavers using a cardiac pump.

The model simulates lifelike bleeding and tissue conditions, so doctors can be more prepared when operating on living patients, Krisht said.

A 150-seat auditorium will use 3-D laser projectors allowing visiting surgeons to view a live stream from operating room cameras, including a small camera navigating parts of a patient's brain.

The overall project incorporated renovations to CHI St. Vincent North in Sherwood, where Arkansas Neuroscience Institute now will be housed.

It's at that site, rather than at CHI St. Vincent Infirmary in Little Rock, to make better use of a hospital campus that wasn't especially busy, Aduddell said.

Preparations for the move included improvements to four surgery rooms, additional training in critical care for nursing staff, the addition of a helipad and a revamp of the intensive care unit, which grew by 10 beds.

In materials about the research and education center project, officials have pointed to the institute's three-year survival rates for the aggressive brain tumors called glioblastomas -- 34%, compared to a national average of 8.8%, they said.

NW News on 06/16/2019

Print Headline: St. Vincent opens neuroscience center

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