Amrou Sarraj, MD
Amrou Sarraj, MD

Amrou Sarraj, MD, associate professor of neurology, received the prestigious “Stroke Care in Emergency Medicine Award” from the American Stroke Association earlier this month for his winning research, “Optimization Methodologies to Enhance Endovascular Thrombectomy Access in the United States.”

The award encourages investigators to undertake or continue research in the emergent phase of acute stroke treatment and submit an abstract to the International Stroke Conference. This is the second major award that Sarraj received from the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association, previously winning the ‘Mordecai Y.T. Globus New Investigator Award’ in 2012 for his research on predicting poor outcomes in stroke patients undergoing thrombectomy.

Sarraj was presented with the award at the American Stroke Association’s International Stroke Conference 2020 in Los Angeles, which is the world’s premier meeting dedicated to the science of stroke and brain health.

“I am honored to receive this recognition from American Stroke Association,” Sarraj said. “Endovascular thrombectomy is a highly effective treatment for stroke patients, and currently less than a fifth of the U.S. population have timely access to this treatment. We described the current thrombectomy access and proposed two different methodologies to improve patient access to a treatment that can significantly improve their outcomes.

“We hope that this research is helpful in planning and infrastructure development at local, state, and national level to prioritize allocation of resources.”

The study, published in Stroke, assessed the current state of access to endovascular thrombectomies in the United States and evaluated two different strategies to optimize it. The study implemented two different optimization methodologies, flipping centers who do not currently have capabilities to perform endovascular thrombectomy and bypassing stroke patients from non-thrombectomy centers to thrombectomy capable centers and their potential benefits in a simulated model.

Sarraj serves as the vice chair of clinical quality for the Department of Neurology and is the director of the Vascular Neurology Fellowship Program. He joined the McGovern Medical School faculty in 2012.

He earned his medical degree from Damascus University Medical School in Syria, completing an internship in internal medicine at University of Illinois, Chicago/Advocate Christ Medical Center and his neurology residency and vascular neurology fellowship at UTHealth. His work is focused on optimizing stroke outcomes by developing methods to select patients who will maximally benefit from acute stroke therapies.