Medical Sub-Specialty Blossoming in Miami Valley

This article features the doctors from NeuroInterventional Specialists of Dayton. The article or some version of it appeared in the following newspapers: Dayton Daily News, Oakwood Register, Centerville/Bellbrook Times, Kettering/Oakwood Times and Xenia Daily Gazette.

They are called neurointerventional specialists and are physicians dedicated to the diagnosis and treatment of vascular disease involving the central nervous system. Using the latest minimally-invasive technologies, they treat many complex disorders, including all types of strokes, aneurysms, spinal and other related problems with a much lower risk of complications.

This sub-specialty is so unique that only 15 or so physicians practice in Ohio. However, the newly formed Neuro Interventional Specialists of Dayton, 30 E. Apple St. at Dayton’s Miami Valley Hospital includes three of them. The region’s only team includes Dr. William Protzer, Dr. Bryan Ludwig, and Dr. John Terry.

“Throughout the United States there are only 300 or so neurointerventional specialists,” noted Dr. Ludwig.” Patients in this area are fortunate to have this resource close by and available around the clock so they don’t have to travel to larger cities, especially when they are already ill or when time is a factor,” he elaborated. A graduate of The University Of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Dr. Ludwig completed his residency in Neurology at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, and was fellowship-trained in cerebrovascular Neurology and Interventional Neurology at The University of Iowa.

With a history of about 20 years, this specialty involves the use of a micro-catheter in the femoral artery in the leg which is moved into the aorta, and then into the vessels of the neck. When an interventional therapy is performed problems can be corrected more quickly and efficiently for less cost and a shorter hospital stay than other procedures.

Kettering resident Chad Kocevar knows firsthand how unique this specialty is. Last fall he suffered a stroke and heart attack on the same day. At only 42 years old, Kocevar had other health issues, but was not aware that these other problems were looming. An intracranial angioplasty was performed by Dr. Terry to remove blood clots. Due to the minimally-invasive nature of this procedure, Kocevar has fully recovered.

Xenia resident Carol Weber knows firsthand how unique this specialty is. Last year she woke up one morning and discovered she couldn’t hear. An intracranial aneurysm was diagnosed, and in December a six-hour stent-assisted aneurysm repair was performed by Dr. Ludwig. With very little recovery time required, Ms. Weber raves about her progress. “I was treated fabulously, and I am so excited about my recovery!” she exclaims. She points out that a week after the procedure she went shopping, and she now swims three times a week.

The pioneer for this specialty in this region has been Dr. Protzer, the only area neurointerventional specialist for a decade, who has treated hundreds of patients successfully at Miami Valley Hospital since 2000. When he wasn’t available, patients were sent to hospitals in larger cities such as Cincinnati or Columbus. As a result, Miami Valley Hospital began recruiting other doctors to join Dr. Protzer to provide critical neurological procedures whenever needed.

A graduate of the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland, Dr. Protzer completed his residency in Diagnostic Radiology at Wilford Hall USAF Medical Center in San Antonia. He is fellowship trained in Neuroradiology and Interventional Neuroradiology.

A Dayton native, Dr. Ludwig had heard of the need through a friend. While still in neurointerventional radiology fellowship training, he had hoped to return to the area, but thought his specialty would require him to relocate to a larger city.

It was Dr. Ludwig who helped recruit Dr. Terry - who had been considering a post elsewhere - to join this evolving team.

The team is now available to treat patients 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and that, among other things, is what is so special about this practice! Dr. Terry noted that blood vessel disorders are a major cause of adult disabilities in the country, so this practice not only saves lives, but prevents many disabilities.

A graduate of the University Of Kansas School Of Medicine, Terry completed his residency in Neurology at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. He was fellowship trained in neurocritical care at Johns Hopkins University, and in Interventional Neuroradiology at University of Iowa.

The three physicians work closely to make sure patients receive complete pre-operative, post-operative, and ongoing follow-up care.

“We follow each patient for months to years post procedure,” Dr. Protzer pointed out. He also emphasized that in addition to educating the general public, there is a need to inform general practitioners and other physicians about this crucial resource in the area.

With the questions of future health care policies and cost control being at the top of everyone’s mind, the Miami Valley is fortunate to have this particularly important medical practice at its doorstep.

Neuro Interventional Specialists of Dayton is a member of Premier Physician Network, Dayton’s largest physician network with more than 150 primary care and specialty physicians. Premier Physician Network is part of Premier Health, a health system that includes Miami Valley Hospital, Atrium Medical Center and Upper Valley Medical Center.

The practice is accepting new physician-referred adult and pediatric patients. For additional information call 937-208-4200, or visit the practice online.