Submarine Technology Used to Diagnose Stroke Quickly

A medical device developed by retired U.S. Navy sonar experts, using submarine technology, is a new paradigm for the detection, diagnosis and monitoring of stroke, according to a team of interventional radiologists at the Society of Interventional Radiology’s 36th Annual Scientific Meeting in Chicago. Each type of stroke and brain trauma is detected, identified and located using a simple headset and portable laptop-based console. The device’s portability and speed of initial diagnosis make it appropriate for many uses outside of the hospital setting including by military doctors in theater who need to assess situations quickly and efficiently in order to provide critically injured troops with treatment, according to a press release,.

“We have developed and validated this portable device for the detection of stroke that is based on decades of submarine warfare technology,” Kieran J. Murphy, MD, FSIR, professor and vice chair, director of research and deputy chief of radiology at the University of Toronto and University Health Network, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, stated in the release.

He said this technology could easily differentiate normal brain from life-threatening conditions, such as swelling and bleeding.

“For example, when a physician suspects stroke, time is of the essence. Doctors could use the system to determine treatment that needs to begin immediately,” Murphy stated.

The device’s continuous monitoring capability — unique in neurodiagnostics — will allow immediate detection of changes in a patient’s condition. In addition to its being ideal for field ER, ambulance or military use, the researchers’ hope is for the technology to be adapted and used in other areas of acute care, such as open heart surgery and in other vascular indications elsewhere in the body and in monitoring the progression of disease for drug efficacy.

“Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the United States and the leading cause of disability,” Murphy said. “The system is very simple in principle, yet it yields exceedingly rich data.”

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