Euronews about non-invasive intracranial pressure measurement (The European Comission Brainsafe project)

Doing away with drilling

One hospital in Lithuania is undertaking an unusual test. Patients with head trauma are provided with strange plastic glasses to measure the pressure on their brain tissues.

Until now, these measurements – key to determining if patients are at risk of further brain damage – involved literally drilling into the skull. That is a dangerous and costly procedure which each year prevents more than one million European patients from having a proper examination of their brain injures.

Vilnius University neurosurgeon Saulius Rocka believes the figure soon be a thing of the past: “This platform gives us, neurosurgeons, the possibility to understand what is happening in the brain without being invasive. Invasive measurements are nowadays standard in neurosurgery. But you can’t use invasive measurements, for instance, with conscious patients. This equipment enables us to produce safer, faster and more accurate measurements of intracranial pressure.”

The platform is based on ultrasound technology. Ultrasound beams are gently applied to the eye. They measure blood flow parameters in two different regions of the opthalmic artery. The ultrasound signal is processed in a fast and precise way, according to its developers.

The BrainSafe project coordinator and business developer Edvardas Satkauskas explained: “We are trying to measure the speed of blood particles and other parameters in really small vessels in the brain. The big challenge is to be accurate, so our platform must be very sensitive. That’s why we had to develop innovative technologies, like digital signal processing solutions or filtering algorithms; all fit into a united electronic platform.”

Copyright © European Commission 2013 / euronews 2013

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