Med Gadget reported this week on a new scanner that may offer important advances for those who have suffered a brain injury. The device, known as Infrascanner Model 1000, is used to detect intracranial hematomas-bleeding on the brain inside the head. It had been approved for use by the European Union for the last three years. However the U.S. Food and Drug Administration just recently approved the device for use on patients here in the United States.
The product works by using infrared light to see through the patient’s skull and thereby allowing detection of blood build up that might exists between the skull and the brain. Doctors can therefore quickly test many different regions of the skull. In the emergency room context it will allow doctors to decide in a timely fashion whether or not a particular patient needs a follow up CT scan to get a better idea of the extent of a brain injury victim’s injuries. Blog readers know that saving time in the crucial moments after a brain injury is vital. Brain damage often results from a “cascade” of problems, whereby brain cells and nerves are permanently destroyed not at the moment of head trauma but in the hours and days after it.
The new device was created by Infrascan. They explain in the product release page that the Infrascanner is non-invasive hand held device that help detect brain hematoma within the “golden hour.” This hour refers to the critical period after head trauma has occurred when medical professionals are forced to quickly assess the overall neurological condition of a victim. Medical mistakes at this time often have catastrophic consequences for victims who can see their condition deteriorate quickly if they do not receive proper medical attention. For example, if a football player is taken to the emergency room after taking a particularly hard hit, it is vital for the emergency room professionals to be able to asses immediately whether the head trauma is severe enough to demand certain follow up care. Our Chicago brain injury lawyers hope that these types of devices will be able to deliver on the promises and actually help professionals more accurately make those quick choices.
The company marketing the product explains that the hand-held device might be a particularly effective solution, because of its use of the light absorbing properties of hemoglobin and the non-ionizing nature of near-infrared technology. Essentially, the amount of light that is absorbed by a part of the brain that is not injured would be different than that part of the brain that is injured with blood collections. If a brain is healthy then the light absorption would be symmetrical. If a patient has suffered a brain injury resulting in intracranial bleeding, there will be irregularities in the reading.
It will be interesting to see if these devices enter widespread use, particularly in emergency rooms. It will also be important to track the effectiveness of the detection. If fewer patients report serious complications which could have been caught by earlier bleeding detection, then it might be a result of use of this device.
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