19 October 2023

Smart "cap" determines stroke severity on the way to the hospital

Researchers have developed a mobile device for ambulances to quickly diagnose the severity of a stroke.

Researchers from the University Medical Center Amsterdam (Amsterdam UMC) have developed an experimental "cap" for analyzing brain waves. The device can quickly diagnose a stroke and determine the severity of the abnormalities before the patient is admitted to hospital.

The portable electroencephalogram (EEG) device was developed for use by emergency physicians in patients who have suffered the most common ischemic stroke. Based on the readings from the device, the physician can determine whether a blocked blood vessel in the brain is large or small.

This is important to realize at the earliest possible stage, the developers explain. If a large vessel is blocked, the patient should be taken to a specialized clinic where the clot can be surgically removed. If it is small, blood thinners, which can be prescribed and administered in any hospital, are sufficient for treatment. Without rapid EEG analysis, up to 54% of patients are initially taken to the wrong department and lose time.

Researchers tested the device on 12 ambulances in the Netherlands from 2018 to 2022. During this time, with the help of the "cap" diagnosed the severity of disorders in more than 400 patients with suspected stroke. According to the developers, the device recognizes patients with massive ischemic stroke with great accuracy."

"When it comes to stroke, the earlier we start the right treatment, the better the outcome. If the diagnosis is clear in the ambulance, the patient can be sent directly to the right hospital, saving precious time," Jonathan Coutinho, a neurologist and one of the inventors of the device.
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