Undiagnosed bleeding from brain injuries can prove fatal. This is particularly noteworthy in warzones as bleeding internally in the head isn’t easily identifiable. Thanks to new developments in ultra sound technology however, there could be a path to early diagnosis.
The problem with existing ultrasound scanners is that they produce a 2D model. This is most commonly used for baby scan images. Ultrasound works by projecting sound onto the human body and reading the bounce back, putting an image to the sound waves.
Other alternatives for better picture quality include CT or MRI scanners. In cases of emergency, where treatment needs to be quick, including as before, on a battlefield, then these devices become unfeasible. CT and MRI scanners are normally bulky and in some cases are so big they require a dedicated transport to house them.
How conventional ultrasound works
The new ultrasound scanners are a portable version the size of a laptop, able to create a 3D image of the brain and instantly send the data via the internet to a specialist. It allows remote diagnosis and a quick way of identifying bleeding. It also means that if an expert is not present at the scene, there is always one available online to look at the scans.
Long Term Gain
With the ability to quickly diagnose bleeding in the brain, there is the possibility to prevent haemorrhages. In remote locations without an expert who can spot the bleeding on scans this can be the difference between receiving the correct treatment fast and long term brain damage.
This is also beneficial for patients coming into A&E after suffering a stroke. If bleeding is not spotted early and is left untreated it can lead to further damage when the patient would preferably require rushing to A&E. Bleeding in the brain is not always recognizable without due training and experience; in the past patients may not have been identified as suffering this and risked long term damage or even death if untreated.
Sincere Law Catastrophic Injury Partner Chris Walker saw the potential in the scanners and was very pleased to see the ongoing development reach testing. Of the scanners he said:
“Undiagnosed bleeding inside a brain can devastate a person in the long term and so having the ability to clearly identify this in a patient, even when a specialist doctor isn’t on hand at the scene, is a big step towards reducing catastrophic brain injuries. We hope to see continual testing and eventual rollout of these devices in our armed forces and A&E too”.
There is no doubt that the ability to quickly scan a brain for internal bleeding and send the results remotely can save lives going forward. The biggest question is how quickly can the portable scanners be thoroughly tested and rolled out for general use? Unfortunately at this point there is no set timeline but the testing is a large step towards that goal.
In the majority of brain injury cases taken by Sincere Law relating to internal bleeding, the longer a patient is left to be diagnosed; whether that is simply waiting at a hospital or waiting for a specialist to identify the symptoms; the more damaging the long term effects. A brain injury also affects the family of a victim just as much. They often involve complications including affected motor functions, restricted learning capacity or general brain functionality problems.
Steps towards reducing the amount prolonged brain bleeding sufferers are being made every day. In time we hope that those operating in our armed forces and those in need of quick assistance in our hospitals have access to the new ultrasound scanners.