Measurement of a patient’s intracranial pressure (ICP) has the potential to be a critical component in the diagnosis and monitoring of patients with a wide variety of conditions from traumatic brain injury to malaria. However today, ICP is only measured in very sick patients since current methods are very invasive, requiring a surgeon to drill into the patient’s skull in order to get an accurate measurement.
Researchers led by Dr. Thomas Heldt, PhD, at MIT’s Institute for Medical Engineering and Science (IMES) have developed an algorithm that can estimate ICP based off of two measurements that can both be determined completely non-invasively using ultrasound. These two measurements are the arterial blood flow velocity in the brain and the arterial blood pressure waveform (the complete profile of blood pressure throughout a cardiac cycle). Ultrasonic devices designed to take each of these measurements are being developed separately by Philips and researchers in MIT’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, respectively. The vision for the final product will be a single portable device that incorporates both ultrasound devices and the algorithm that outputs the ICP.
The research team recently announced a collaboration with surgeons at Boston Medical Center’s Department of Neurosurgery in order to begin a two year project for testing and refining this algorithm.
Source: MIT IMES