Biography

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Venkatesh Aiyagari, M.D., is a Professor in the Departments of Neurological Surgery and Neurology and Neurotherapeutics at UT Southwestern Medical Center. 

A specialist in the neurocritical care of inpatients, Dr. Aiyagari serves as Chief of the Division of Neurocritical Care.

He is certified in neurocritical care by the United Council for Neurologic Subspecialties and in neurology and vascular neurology by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.

Dr. Aiyagari’s research interests include blood pressure management in stroke, quality improvement in neurocritical care, and sodium management in neurological disorders. He has published scores of journal articles, abstracts, and book chapters.

He is a Fellow of the American Heart Association Stroke Council and a Diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.

Prior to joining the UT Southwestern faculty in 2012, Dr. Aiyagari served as a tenured Associate Professor of neurology and Co-Director of neurocritical care in the Department of Neurology and Rehabilitation at the University of Illinois.

Dr. Aiyagari earned his medical degree at Calcutta Medical College and Hospitals. He completed two neurology residencies, one at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences, Bangalore, India and another at New York University Medical Center – serving as chief resident his final year – and a fellowship in neurology/neurosurgery intensive care at Washington University School of Medicine.

He serves on the editorial board of Frontiers in Hospitalist Neurology and as an ad hoc reviewer for journals that include JAMA NeurologyJournal of Critical CareNeurologyNeurocritical CareStroke, and Critical Care Medicine.

He is a member of professional organizations that include the American Academy of Neurology, Society of Critical Care Medicine, and Neurocritical Care Society.


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Meet Dr. Aiyagari

As a neurocritical care specialist, Venkatesh Aiyagari, M.D., brings together expertise in neurology and critical care medicine – a combination that allows him to provide the best care for people with life-threatening conditions of the brain, spinal cord, and nerves.

“In most intensive care units, the intensivists who care for patients generally don’t have a neurology background, so they don’t have a complete understanding of these diseases,” Dr. Aiyagari says.

Dr. Aiyagari leads UT Southwestern Medical Center’s highly specialized Division of Neurocritical Care, which includes seven physicians all trained in both neurology and critical care. They treat conditions ranging from severe stroke, uncontrolled seizures, and ruptured cerebral aneurysms to acute brain and spinal cord injuries and diseases such as encephalitis, myasthenia gravis, and meningitis.

“We all understand neurological and neurosurgical diseases very well,” he says. “And because we’re also trained in critical care, the care we provide is specifically tailored for ICU patients with disorders involving the brain.”

The Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit at UT Southwestern’s Zale Lipshy Pavilion – William P. Clements Jr. University Hospital is one of the largest facilities of its kind in Texas.

The unit offers a range of state-of-the-art services, including 24-hour video EEG monitoring, end-tidal CO2 monitoring, noninvasive cardiac monitoring, intracranial pressure monitoring, bronchoscopy, and ultrasonography.

“We care for many patients who have been referred by nearby ICU doctors and other physicians who need advanced expertise in neurocritical care that they aren’t equipped to provide,” Dr. Aiyagari says.

Patients receive comprehensive care thanks to the multidisciplinary approach the team employs. Specialists include nurses trained in Neurocritical care, respiratory therapists, a pharmacist, and a dietician, as well as neurosurgeons, occupational and physical therapists, and speech pathologists.

Combining their expertise and experience, Dr. Aiyagari and his colleagues are able to improve the conditions of a number of the critically ill patients they care for.

“Many of our patients who were initially quite sick do get better, and some come back and visit us, walking and talking,” he says. “It’s important to remember that just because someone is in the Neuro ICU it doesn’t mean that he or she can’t improve significantly.”

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Education & Training
  • Fellowship - Washington University School of Medicine (1998-2000), Neurocritical Care
  • Residency - New York University School of Medicine (1995-1998), Neurology
  • Internship - The Brooklyn Hospital Center (1994-1995), Internal Medicine
  • Residency - National Institute of Mental Health & Neuro Sciences (1987-1992), Neurology
  • Medical School - Calcutta Medical College and Hospitals (1980-1986)
Honors & Awards
  • Lifesaving Partners Award, Gift of Hope (Organ & Tissue Donor Network) 2012
  • John S. Garvin MD Teacher of the Year Award, Department of Neurology, University of Illinois at Chicago 2006
Books & Publications
Research
  • Quality improvement in neurocritical care
  • Blood pressure management in stroke

Clinical Focus

  • Neuro-Critical Care

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Q&A by Dr. Aiyagari

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