Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Cerebral blood flow becomes accurately and non-invasively monitored

An innovative, low-cost, portable and non-invasive device offers reliable and accurate measurements of cerebral blood circulation.
Cerebral blood flow becomes accurately and non-invasively monitored
Head trauma, hydrocephalus, tumours, haemorrhages and thrombosis are some of the various causes behind the rise of intra-cranial pressure above certain limits. This rise may lead to the obstruction or cessation of Cerebral Blood Flow (CBF) and insufficient CBF is highly related to the inadequate supply of nutrients to the brain. Thus, it may cause cerebral ischemia and irreversible neurological damage, which may result in a coma, loss of faculties and even death conditions.

The severity of these pathologies requires continuous monitoring of patients for immediate detection in order to initiate rapid intervention before irreversible damage takes place. Most frequent methods for direct and indirect measurements of CBF include Transcranial Doppler sonography, certain Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) techniques, and Computed Tomography (CT-Scan). These methods are normally complementary to each other, and they feature significant drawbacks including being invasive, discomfortable for patients and very expensive.

Answering this need, a non-invasive device for continuous monitoring of cerebral blood flow has been developed, whose operation relies on rheoencephalography techniques. The basic concept behind rheoencephalography is that the electrical impedance of the blood-tissue combination depends on the quantity of blood within the tissue. The involved use of electrodes in these techniques may result in inaccurate readings as they include measurements of blood flow in the patient's scalp.

To overcome this disadvantage researchers in Spain focused on eliminating the undesired information coming from scalp from the device's readings. The key innovation with the new device is that although it relies on classical rheoencephalography, it has the potential to provide real time, accurate, reliable measurements of CBF without taking into account information received from the scalp blood flow.

The device is simple in its use as it uses four electrodes on patients scalp without any requirements on personnel special expertise and hence, it is harmless and painless for patients. This novelty features low cost and high portability as it can work also on batteries, which makes it available for use in ambulances and small health centres. An industrial manufacturer of electronic medical systems is sought for a license or technical co-operation agreement.
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