March 4, 2009

Post-stroke blood flow monitor developed

U.S. medical scientists say they have successfully demonstrated a non-invasive optical device that monitors cerebral blood flow in stroke patients.

University of Pennsylvania researchers said brain blood flow changes in patients with acute stroke are a leading cause of disability and death. The ultimate goal of the research, the scientists said, is to improve the management of patients with stroke and other brain disorders by providing continuous bedside monitoring of brain blood flow and metabolism.

Our preliminary study demonstrates blood flow changes can be reliably detected from stroke patients and also suggests blood flow responses vary significantly from patient to patient, lead author Turgut Durduran said.

Researchers said the technology is a non-invasive system that uses lasers, photon-counting detectors, radio-frequency electronics, data processors and a computer monitor to display user-friendly images of functional information.

What we have demonstrated is a working prototype of a non-invasive brain probe that uses diffusing light to detect physiological changes such as blood flow, blood-oxygen saturation and hemoglobin concentration to inform clinicians about their treatments, Professor Arjun Yodh, who led the study, said.

The research that included Rick Van Berg, John Detre, Joel Greenberg and Scott Kasner is part of a $2.8 million, five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health and the University of Pennsylvania's Comprehensive Neuroscience Center.