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New device uses submarine technology to diagnose stroke quickly

ted States and the leading cause of disability," explained Murphy. A stroke or "brain attack" occurs when a blood clot blocks an artery or a blood vessel breaks, interrupting blood flow to an area of the brain, he said. When either of these things happens, brain cells begin to die and brain damage occurs. And, stresses Murphy, "time to diagnosis is critical to improving patient outcomes; time is brain."

"The system is very simple in principle, yet it yields exceedingly rich data," said Murphy. He explained that the device's basis in submarine technology means it works to measure a patient's complex brain pulsations and to provide information on the type and location of an abnormality in many of the same ways as sonar works on submarines. Both use an array of sensors to measure movement and generate signals to be processed and analyzed, matching the signals to objects or conditions. "As sonar sorts out whales and other objects from vessels, the device sorts out cerebral abnormalities such as aneurysms, arteriovenous malformations (AVMs, an abnormal connection between veins and arteries), ischemic strokes and traumatic brain injury from normal variations in physiology," noted Murphy.

Traditionally in transcranial ultrasound, the thinner areas of the skull are used as "windows" through which ultrasound can "see" or "listen," said Murphy. This system does not rely on these "windows." It measures the movement of the skull (acceleration) to separate confounding acoustic signals from the motion created by the in-rushing blood flow in this way: blood flows into the brain during each pulse and a pressure wave emulates from the vessels outward in all directions. The wave encounters the skull and accelerates it. The device measures the acceleration and records this complex waveform with a time synchronized high-resolution digitizer, explained Murphy.

In a 40-patient proof-of-principle trial, the patients16 men and 24 womenwith a wide variety of cere

Contact: Ellen Acconcia
Society of Interventional Radiology

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