Here’s a new ultrasonic device, still in experimental stage, that one day might become useful for a range of clinical disciplines. It is designed for measuring compartment tissue pressures. EN-TACT™, not yet approved by the FDA, is made by Luna Innovations Inc., of Roanoke, Virginia.
About the device:
Luna’s EN-TACT device uses proprietary algorithms for tracking tissue motion to the sub-micron range, enabling it to accurately reproduce the pressure waveforms that create this motion. The high-resolution of the EN- TACT waveform makes it possible to estimate both intracranial and intramuscular pressures based on the waveform shape. The portable system can be operated by a non-specialist with minimal training, and is therefore ideal for traumatic injuries, sports medicine (ex. football), and military combat situations in which compartment syndrome and traumatic brain injury are common.
Compartment syndrome results from injuries where pressure within the muscles builds to dangerous levels and prevents nourishment from reaching nerve and muscle cells. This painful condition can damage blood vessels, nerve and muscle cells and if undiagnosed and untreated can lead to extreme discomfort, paralysis or in some cases fatalities. For compartment syndrome within muscles, the portable EN-TACT system can replace the current diagnostic process which involves a large bore needle repeatedly injected into the muscle.
In intracranial applications, the EN-TACT system detects increased intracranial pressure due to brain swelling caused by traumatic brain injury. Currently, the noninvasive diagnosis involves a neurological exam in which the patient must respond to verbal and non-verbal stimuli. The EN-TACT system allows an emergency medical responder to detect this dangerous condition even when the patient is non-responsive due to unconsciousness or chemical sedation.
Like with all other medical devices, we will exercise guarded enthusiasm about its prospects in the clinical field, while realizing a hard road of approval ahead for the company.