Investigators from Johns Hopkins Children’s Center and Cambridge University developed software that monitors cerebral perfusion pressure and intracranial oxygenation, and hence has the potential to provide better monitoring of brain hemodynamics in post-op and trauma patients. While somewhat similar to the INVOS System from Somanetics Corp., the new technology is purportedly much more advanced:
Healthy brains regulate blood flow and oxygen levels during drops and spikes in blood pressure, but injured brains may lose this fail-safe mechanism, leading to oxygen starvation and permanent brain damage.
Although monitors have long been able to track blood pressure and blood flow to the brain, the Hopkins-Cambridge team created a system that for the first time precisely determines the “breakpoint” at which the brain begins to lose its ability to cope with changes in blood pressure.
The software does this, researchers say, by gauging minute shifts in blood pressure and oxygenation every 60 seconds and alerting doctors when they approach critical levels.
Using a software program developed by two Cambridge scientists, Hopkins doctors fed data into a computer from two staples of the pediatric intensive care unit–an old-fashioned arterial blood pressure monitor and an oxygen meter that uses beams of infrared light to estimate oxygen saturation in the brain.
The software essentially makes these two devices talk to each other, researchers explain, showing in a continuous stream the interplay between blood pressure and oxygen levels, whether the brain is coping with pressure changes, and more importantly, what blood pressure range is conducive to that.
“This intricate interplay between oxygenation and blood flow was the big unknown in what is indeed a simple equation, and now we’ve pinpointed the level where arterial blood pressure needs to be in order to promote healing in the injured brain,” Brady says.
In traumatic brain injuries, some brain damage occurs on impact, but much damage and indeed many deaths occur in the critical two-to-five-day window following the injury, a critical time when brain function must be monitored to ward off damage. This is when and where the new system will be most useful, researchers say.
The technique could be also used in premature babies, who are particularly prone to ischemic strokes and bleeding in the brain because of their brains’ immature self-regulatory mechanisms and their fragile blood vessels.
Press release from Hopkins: Blood-Flow Detector Software Shows Promise In Preventing Brain Damage …
(hat tip: MTB Europe)