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Enrique C. Leira, MD, MS

Director, Cerebrovascular Diseases
Professor with tenure
Professor of Neurology
Professor of Epidemiology
Professor of Neurosurgery

Contact Information

Primary Office
Iowa City, IA 52242



MD, Universidad de Santiago de Compostela
MS, Epidemiology, University of Iowa
Resident, Neurology, St. Louis University
Fellow, Cerebrovascular Diseases, University of Iowa College of Medicine

Research Summary

Enrique C. Leira MD MS is the Director of the Division of Cerebrovascular Disease and Head of the Comprehensive Stroke Center. He is an experienced board-certified vascular neurologist, and a trained epidemiologist. His research focus is acute stroke management, including evidence-based strategies to improve and accelerate stroke treatment in rural areas. This led to a pivotal clinical trial of delivering an intervention during the helicopter evacuation of patients to a comprehensive stroke center (AIRDOC). This led into novel translational animal studies studying the effect of helicopter transport on acute stroke and reperfusion (AIR-MICE). Dr. Leira research has been funded by the NINDS-NIH, including the University of Iowa StrokeNet Regional Coordinating Center Infrastructure. He is a member of the Operator Performance laboratory in the College of Engineering. http://www.ccad.uiowa.edu/opl/. Dr. Leira has been very active with the American Stroke Association serving in Stroke Council and chairing several Committees, as well as with the American Academy of Neurology serving as Vice-Chair and Chair of the Vascular Neurology Section.


Leira, E. C. (2019). Tips for a Successful Scientific Presentation. Stroke, STROKEAHA119025337. PMID: 31272322.

Leira, E. C., Savitz, S. I. (2018). In the Era of Thrombectomy, Let Us Also Protect the Majority of Patients With Stroke Who Only Require Medical Treatment!. Stroke, 49(6), 1538-1540. PMID: 29748421.

Dhanesha, N., Vázquez-Rosa, E., Cintrón-Pérez, C. J., Thedens, D., Kort, A. J., Chuong, V., Rivera-Dompenciel, A. M., Chauhan, A. K., Leira, E. C. & Pieper, A. A. (2018). Treatment with Uric Acid Reduces Infarct and Improves Neurologic Function in Female Mice After Transient Cerebral Ischemia. Journal of stroke and cerebrovascular diseases : the official journal of National Stroke Association, 27(5), 1412-1416. PMID: 29398531.

Leira, E. C., Viscoli, C. M., Polgreen, L. A., Gorman, M. & Kernan, W. N. (2018). Distance from Home to Research Center: A Barrier to In-Person Visits but Not Treatment Adherence in a Stroke Trial. Neuroepidemiology, 50(3-4), 137-143. PMID: 29587267.

Leira, E., Phipps, M., Jasne, A. & Kleindorfer, D. (2017). Time to treat stroke patients in rural locations as an underserved minority. Neurology, 88(5), 422–423. DOI: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000003560.

Leira, E. C., Stilley, J. D., Schnell, T., Audebert, H. J. & Adams, H. P. (2016). Helicopter transportation in the era of thrombectomy: The next frontier for acute stroke treatment and research. European Stroke Journal, 1(3), 171-179. DOI: 10.1177/2396987316658994.

Edwards, C., Leira, E. C. & Gonzalez-Alegre, P. (2015). Residency training: a failed lumbar puncture is more about obesity than lack of ability. Neurology, 84(10), e69-72. PMID: 25754807.

Leira, E., Zaheer, A., Schnell, T., Torner, J., Olalde, H., Pieper, A., Ortega-Gutierrez, S., Nagaraja, N., Marks, N. & Adams, H. (2015). Effect of helicopter transport on neurological outcomes in a mouse model of embolic stroke with reperfusion: AIR-MICE pilot study. International Journal of Stroke, 10(A100), 119–124. DOI: 10.1111/ijs.12619.

Rodriguez, C. J., Allison, M., Daviglus, M. L., Isasi, C. R., Keller, C., Leira, E. C., Palaniappan, L., Piña, I. L., Ramirez, S. M., Rodriguez, B. & Sims, M. (2014). Status of cardiovascular disease and stroke in Hispanics/Latinos in the United States: a science advisory from the American Heart Association. Circulation, 130(7), 593-625. PMID: 25098323.

Leira, E., Kaskie, B., Froehler, M. T. & Adams, H. P. (2013). The Growing Shortage of Vascular Neurologists in The Era of Health Reform: Planning is Brain!. Stroke; a journal of cerebral circulation, 44(3), 822-7. PMID: 23386675.

Leira, E., Coffey, C., Jorge, R., Morton, S., Froehler, M., Davis, P. & Adams, Jr., H. (2013). The NIHSS supplementary motor scale: A valid tool for multidisciplinary recovery trials. Cerebrovascular Diseases, 36(1), 69–73. DOI: 10.1159/000351514.

Leira, E., Fairchild, G., Segre, A. M., Rushton, G., Froehler, M. T. & Polgreen, P. M. (2012). Primary stroke centers should be located using maximal coverage models for optimal access. Stroke; a journal of cerebral circulation, 43(9), 2417-22. PMID: 22811453.

Leira, E., Kaldjian, L. C., Ludwig, B. R., Torner, J. C., Olalde, H. M., Hacke, W. & Adams, H. P. (2012). Lack of international consensus on ethical aspects of acute stroke trials. Journal of stroke and cerebrovascular diseases : the official journal of National Stroke Association, 21(3), 200-4. PMID: 20719537.

Leira, E., Ludwig, B. R., Gurol, M. E., Torner, J. C. & Adams, H. P. (2012). The types of neurological deficits might not justify withholding treatment in patients with low total National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale scores. Stroke; a journal of cerebral circulation, 43(3), 782-6. PMID: 22308246.

Mikami, K., Jorge, R. E., Adams, H. P., Davis, P. H., Leira, E., Jang, M. & Robinson, R. G. (2011). Effect of antidepressants on the course of disability following stroke. The American journal of geriatric psychiatry : official journal of the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry, 19(12), 1007-15. PMID: 21358384.

Cruz-Flores, S., Rabinstein, A., Biller, J., Elkind, M. S., Griffith, P., Gorelick, P. B., Howard, G., Leira, E., Morgenstern, L. B., Ovbiagele, B., Peterson, E., Rosamond, W., Trimble, B. & Valderrama, A. L. (2011). Racial-ethnic disparities in stroke care: the American experience: a statement for healthcare professionals from the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. Stroke; a journal of cerebral circulation, 42(7), 2091-116. PMID: 21617147.

Day, J. S., Policeni, B. A., Smoker, W. R., Dobre, M. C., Zhang, Y., Leira, E., Davis, P. H., Chen, S., Olalde, H. & Adams, H. P. (2011). Previous statin use is not associated with an increased prevalence or degree of gradient-echo lesions in patients with acute ischemic stroke or transient ischemic attack. Stroke; a journal of cerebral circulation, 42(2), 354-8. PMID: 21164134.

Leira, E. C., et al, (2010). Principles of clinical research principles in neurology [in Spanish?]. SEN Sociedad Espanola Neurologia.

Kim, J., Leira, E., Callison, R. C., Ludwig, B., Moritani, T., Magnotta, V. A. & Madsen, M. T. (2010). Toward fully automated processing of dynamic susceptibility contrast perfusion MRI for acute ischemic cerebral stroke. Computer methods and programs in biomedicine, 98(2), 204-13. PMID: 20060614.

Leira, E. C., Ahmed, A., Lamb, D. L., Olalde, H. M., Callison, R. C., Torner, J. C. & Adams, H. P. (2009). Extending acute trials to remote populations: a pilot study during interhospital helicopter transfer. Stroke; a journal of cerebral circulation, 40(3), 895-901. PMID: 19131655.

Adams, H. P., Leira, E. C., Torner, J. C., Barnathan, E., Padgett, L., Effron, M. B. & Hacke, W. (2008). Treating patients with 'wake-up' stroke: the experience of the AbESTT-II trial. Stroke; a journal of cerebral circulation, 39(12), 3277-82. PMID: 18772451.

Callison, R. C., Leira, E. C. (2008). Strategies to improve acute stroke care of patients in rural and other geographically dispersed areas. (6), pp. 450-4. Current treatment options in neurology. PMID: 18990313.

Leira, E. C., Hess, D. C., Torner, J. C. & Adams, H. P. (2008). Rural-urban differences in acute stroke management practices: a modifiable disparity. Archives of neurology, 65(7), 887-91. PMID: 18625855.

Leira, E. C., Granner, M. A., Torner, J. C., Callison, R. C. & Adams, H. P. (2008). Education Research: The challenge of incorporating formal research methodology training in a neurology residency. Neurology, 70(20), e79-84. PMID: 18474837.

Leira, E. C., Adams, H. P., Rosenthal, G. E. & Torner, J. C. (2008). Baseline NIH stroke scale responses estimate the probability of each particular stroke subtype. Cerebrovascular diseases (Basel, Switzerland), 26(6), 573-7. PMID: 18946211.

Leira, E. C., Davis, P. H., Martin, C. O., Torner, J. C., Yoo, B., Weeks, J. B., Hindman, B. J. & Todd, M. M. (2007). Improving prediction of outcome in "good grade" subarachnoid hemorrhage. Neurosurgery, 61(3), 470-3; discussion 473-4. PMID: 17881957.

Swenson, A. J., Leira, E. C. (2007). Paroxysmal sneezing at the onset of lateral medullary syndrome: cause or consequence?. European journal of neurology : the official journal of the European Federation of Neurological Societies, 14(4), 461-3. PMID: 17388999.

Leira, E. C., Pary, J. K., Davis, P. H., Grimsman, K. J. & Adams, H. P. (2007). Slow progressive acceptance of intravenous thrombolysis for patients with stroke by rural primary care physicians. Archives of neurology, 64(4), 518-21. PMID: 17420312.

Leira, E. C., Lamb, D. L., Nugent, A. S., Ahmed, A., Grimsman, K. J., Clarke, W. R. & Adams, H. P. (2006). Feasibility of acute clinical trials during aerial interhospital transfer. Stroke; a journal of cerebral circulation, 37(10), 2504-7. PMID: 16946166.

Leira, E. C., Adams, Jr., H. P. (2006). Acute stroke. In H. F. Conn , R. E. Rakel , E. T. Bope (Eds.) Conn's Current Therapy. (58th edition, 2006), pp. 1088-1981. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier.

Leira, E. C., Adams, Jr., H. P. (Eds.) (2005). New therapies in acute stroke. Stroke, Clinical Update [National Stroke Association].

Leira, E. C., Condoor, S. S., Germani, M. P. & Vogler, G. A. (2005). A novel, simple pressure safety valve for lumbar puncture. Neurocritical care, 3(1), 68-70. PMID: 16159101.

Leira, E. C., Acharya, A. B., Cruz-Flores, S., Albaker, O. J., Rao, V. K. & Abdulrauf, S. I. (2005). Blood pressure surge precedes intracerebral hemorrhage. Neurocritical care, 2(1), 43-5. PMID: 16174967.

Cruz-Flores, S., Diamond, A. L. & Leira, E. C. (2005). Cerebral air embolism secondary to intra-aortic balloon pump rupture. Neurocritical care, 2(1), 49-50. PMID: 16174969.

Leira, E. C., Cruz-Flores, S., Wyrwich, K. W., Northam, G. J., Acharya, A. B., Pan, Y., Holzemer, E. M. & Womack, S. B. (2005). Improving pilot response to in-flight strokes: a randomized controlled trial. Cerebrovascular diseases (Basel, Switzerland), 19(5), 317-22. PMID: 15775711.

Leira, E., Cruz-Flores, S., Acharya, A. B. & Pan, Y. (2005). Treatment with tissue plasminogen activator is not associated with increased use of neurosurgery. Journal of stroke and cerebrovascular diseases : the official journal of National Stroke Association, 14(6), 278-80. PMID: 17904037.

Cruz-Flores, S., de Assis Aquino Gondim F & Leira, E. C. (2004). Brainstem involvement in hypertensive encephalopathy: clinical and radiological findings. Neurology, 62(8), 1417-9. PMID: 15111687.

Leira, E. C., Bertrand, M. E., Hogan, R. E., Cruz-Flores, S., Wyrwich, K. W., Albaker, O. J. & Holzemer, E. M. (2004). Continuous or emergent EEG: can bedside caregivers recognize epileptiform discharges?. Intensive care medicine, 30(2), 207-12. PMID: 14615839.

Leira, E. C., Chang, K. C., Davis, P. H., Clarke, W. R., Woolson, R. F., Hansen, M. D. & Adams, H. P. (2004). Can we predict early recurrence in acute stroke?. Cerebrovascular diseases (Basel, Switzerland), 18(2), 139-44. PMID: 15218280.

Leira, E. C., Adams, H. P. (2004). Etiologies and Mechanisms of Ischemia. In Blue Books of Practical Neurology. (C), pp. 55–66. Elsevier. DOI: 10.1016/S1877-3419(09)70078-9.

Leira, E. C., Abramns, Jr., H. P. (2004). Cerebrovascular disease. In R. Palmer , et. al. (Eds.) Current geriatric diagnosis and treatment. pp. 147-155. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Leira, E. C., Al-Baker, O. J. & Abdulrauf, S. I. (2004). Diagnosis and management of vascular sisease of the spinal cord. In H. P. Adams, Jr. (Eds.) Handbook of cerebrovascular diseases. (2nd edition, revised and expanded), pp. 637-652. New York: M. Dekker.

Johnston, S. C., Leira, E. C., Hansen, M. D. & Adams, H. P. (2003). Early recovery after cerebral ischemia risk of subsequent neurological deterioration. Annals of neurology, 54(4), 439-44. PMID: 14520654.

Gondim, F. A., Leira, E. C. & Bertrand, M. E. (2003). Video electroencephalogram monitoring during paroxysmal upside down reversal of vision. Journal of neuro-ophthalmology : the official journal of the North American Neuro-Ophthalmology Society, 23(2), 180. PMID: 12782933.

Leira, E. (2003). Treatment of acute stroke. Revista de neurologia, 36(1), 86-92. PMID: 12577221.

Leira, E. C. (2003). Hyperacute localization. In A. Bicknese (Eds.) Neuroanatomy in the Acute Setting 1KP 009 [syllabus]. American Academy of Neurology.

Kaiboriboon, K., Oliveira, G. R. & Leira, E. C. (2002). Apraxia of eyelid opening secondary to a dominant hemispheric infarction. Journal of neurology, 249(3), 341-2. PMID: 11993536.

Leira, E. C. (2002). Hyperacute localization. In A. Bicknese (Eds.) Practical Neuroanatomy 6PC.003 [syllabus]. American Academy of Neurology.

Leira, E. C., Cruz-Flores, S., Leacock, R. O. & Abdulrauf, S. I. (2001). Sumatriptan can alleviate headaches due to carotid artery dissection. Headache, 41(6), 590-1. PMID: 11437896.

Selhorst, J. B., Kulkantrakorn, K., Corbett, J. J., Leira, E. C. & Chung, S. M. (2000). Retinol-binding protein in idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH). Journal of neuro-ophthalmology : the official journal of the North American Neuro-Ophthalmology Society, 20(4), 250-2. PMID: 11130751.

Leira, E. C., Adams, Jr., H. P. (2000). Which patients are inappropriate for surgery and what is the "best" medical management of non-surgical patients?. In C. M. Loftus , T. F. Kresowik (Eds.) Carotid artery surgery. pp. 113-120. New York: Thieme.

Leira, E. C., Adams, H. P. (1999). Management of acute ischemic stroke. Clinics in geriatric medicine, 15(4), 701-20. PMID: 10499931.

Adams, H. P., Bendixen, B. H., Leira, E., Chang, K. C., Davis, P. H., Woolson, R. F., Clarke, W. R. & Hansen, M. D. (1999). Antithrombotic treatment of ischemic stroke among patients with occlusion or severe stenosis of the internal carotid artery: A report of the Trial of Org 10172 in Acute Stroke Treatment (TOAST). Neurology, 53(1), 122-5. PMID: 10408547.

Adams, H. P., Davis, P. H., Leira, E. C., Chang, K. C., Bendixen, B. H., Clarke, W. R., Woolson, R. F. & Hansen, M. D. (1999). Baseline NIH Stroke Scale score strongly predicts outcome after stroke: A report of the Trial of Org 10172 in Acute Stroke Treatment (TOAST). Neurology, 53(1), 126-31. PMID: 10408548.

Leira, E. C., Love, B. B. & Adams, Jr., H. P. (1999). Stroke in young adults. In L. B. Goldstein , A. Shuaib (Eds.) Management of Acute Stroke. pp. 173-192. New York: Dekker.

Adams, H. P., Leira, E. C. (1998). Treatment of acute ischemic stroke. Drugs of today (Barcelona, Spain : 1998), 34(7), 655-60. PMID: 14988765.

Leira, E. C., Bendixen, B. H., Kardon, R. H. & Adams, H. P. (1998). Brief, transient Horner's syndrome can be the hallmark of a carotid artery dissection. Neurology, 50(1), 289-90. PMID: 9443497.

Leira, E. C., Adams Jr., H. P. (1998). Emergent treatment of the patient with acute ischemic stroke. (Vols. 5). pp. 56-66. Journal of Clinical Outcomes Management.

Torner, J. C., Davis, P. & Leira, E. (1997). Epidemiology of stroke in requiring intensive care. New horizons (Baltimore, Md.), 5(4), 422-32. PMID: 9433994.

Leira, E. C., Ajax, T. & Adams, H. P. (1997). Limb-shaking carotid transient ischemic attacks successfully treated with modification of the antihypertensive regimen. Archives of neurology, 54(7), 904-5. PMID: 9236580.

Adams, H. P., Leira, E. C. (1997). Brain attack. Acute therapeutic intervention. Antithrombotic and antiplatelet-aggregating drugs. (2), pp. 207-17. Neurosurgery clinics of North America. PMID: 9113702.