James Cook University ISSN 1445-6354
Introduction: Prompt diagnosis of traumatic brain injury is a significant problem. Computed tomography is the gold standard for detecting brain haemorrhage, but scanners are bulky, expensive and not 'ruggedized'. A cheap, portable scanner for brain bleeding could allow early intervention: transcranial ultrasound (TCUS) has potential and, paired with an image transmission system, could be used by minimally-trained prehospital staff to assess the injured, supported by hospital-based experts.
Aims: To facilitate head scanning for non-medically trained users by providing a virtual 3-dimensional model showing which areas of the brain have been imaged, the probe's current position, and where still must be covered to generate a full scan.
Methods: Movement sensors measure the position of the TCUS transducer and this is linked to a 3D model of the head to display areas that have been imaged. The images are composited into a 3D scan, using image processing techniques to reshape the model to match the patient's head. This personalised scan can be transmitted for diagnostic review with less chance of data loss than streaming an ongoing scan. The software was tested both by healthy volunteers and clinically.
Results: 11/12 volunteers reported the software was easy to use; all said it seemed accurate and achieved its aims. Feedback provided helped improve program features before the clinical testing.
Conclusions: This software supports novice TCUS users in acquiring diagnostically-useful images; no ultrasound expertise is required, only brief training on the machine and software. Testing in volunteers and patients with brain haemorrhage demonstrates promising utility.
This abstract was presented at the Innovative Solutions in Remote Healthcare - 'Rethinking Remote' conference, 23-24 May 2016, Inverness, Scotland.