Just a few years ago, there was little that doctors could do to treat strokes. The lack of diagnostic techniques and effective treatments at the time made it acceptable for general neurologists, and even emergency room physicians, to diagnose and treat strokes. However, over the past few decades, neurologists and other physicians have developed multiple new and effective approaches to diagnose and treat strokes.
To become proficient in these new approaches, physicians must acquire a great deal of experience and training that is not usually provided to them during their general neurology training. The field of vascular neurology was born to address this gap in education and generate physicians with the experience and expertise to diagnose and treat strokes using the latest techniques available. Furthermore, vascular neurology trains neurologists to create educational efforts about stroke and its treatments for other physicians and the public at large.
To satisfy the need for vascular neurologists ("stroke doctors"), neurology departments in academic medical centers throughout the United States have developed vascular neurology programs (usually 2 to 3 years of intensive training), which are now recognized by the American Academy of Graduate Medical Education. Vascular neurologists are certified through the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.
Adams et. al., Vascular neurology: a new neurologic subspecialty; Neurology 2004 Sep 14;63(5):774-6.