A new “microwave helmet” may be able to quickly identify bleeding in the brain after a traumatic brain injury, according to a small study recently published in the Journal of Neurotrauma.
The portable device uses microwave technology to quickly evaluate brain injuries and could potentially give healthcare professionals essential information in the moments immediately after a brain injury.
First author Dr. Johan Ljungqvist, a specialist in neurosurgery at the Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Sweden, says: “The microwave helmet could improve the medical assessment of traumatic head injuries even before the patient arrives at the hospital.”
While the study is limited in its size and only focused on a single type of brain injury, the positive results give the team hope. Ljungqvist says, “the result indicates that the microwave measurements could be useful in ambulances and other care settings.”
A tool like this could be a game changer in treating moderate to severe traumatic brain injuries in the moments immediately after. Bleeding and swelling in the brain can lead to complications or additional injury.
In the report, the team notes that microwave technology has already been considered for other uses, like determining when strokes are caused by blood clots or bleeding in the brain.
For the study, the team compared 20 patients hospitalized for surgery for chronic subdural hematoma – severe bleeding in the brain – with 20 health participants. The participants underwent both microwave measurements using the device and traditional CT scans.
According to the results, the helmet could potentially be a faster and more portable way to identify TBI related brain bleeds.
“Microwave technology has the potential to revolutionize medical diagnostics by enabling faster, more flexible and more cost-effective care”, says Mikael Persson, professor of biomedical engineering at Chalmers University of Technology. “In many parts of the world microwave measurements systems can become a complement to CT scans and other imaging systems, which are often missing or have long waiting lists.”