A Microwave Device that Helps Treat Strokes

A device that detects different kinds of strokes in patients could be a lifesaving instrument, according to new research.

Strokefinder, which is placed on a patient’s head, uses microwaves to examine the patient’s brain tissue. The device interprets the findings to determine if the stroke is caused by a blood clot or bleeding. The difference between those two kinds of strokes can be crucial in emergency treatment.

Researchers from Chalmers University of Technology, Sahlgrenska Academy and Sahlgrenska University Hospital, in Sweden, studied 45 patients.

“The results of this study show that we will be able to increase the number of stroke patients who receive optimal treatment when the instrument makes a diagnosis already in the ambulance,” says Mikael Persson, professor of biomedical engineering at Chalmers University of Technology. “The possibility to rule out bleeding already in the ambulance is a major achievement that will be of great benefit in acute stroke care. Equally exciting is the potential application in trauma care.”

“Since time is a critical factor for stroke treatment, the use of the instrument leads to patients suffering less extensive injury,” says Mikael Elam, professor of clinical neurophysiology at Sahlgrenska University Hospital. “This in turn can shorten the length of stay at hospitals and reduce the need for rehabilitation, thus providing a number of other positive consequences for both the patient and the health care system.”

A new product, based on the results of the present study, has been developed, and further studies will be conducted in several countries.

The findings were published in the Institution of Electronics and Electrical Engineers’ journal Transactions on Biomedical Engineering.

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