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Device Highly Accurate in Determining Brain Bleeds in Head Injury Patients

BALTIMORE – One of the most difficult issues in treating head injury patients is determining whether a brain bleed is likely.

New technology appears to help make that process more accurate and efficient, according to a recent article in Academic Emergency Medicine.

Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine-led researchers conducted a clinical trial involving more than 700 adults treated at 11 hospitals. The focus was on the effectiveness of a handheld EEG device approved in 2016 by the Food and Drug Administration.

Results indicate that the technology, which is commercially available, was able to rule out with 97% accuracy whether head injury patients were suffering brain bleeding and needed further evaluation and treatment.

Study authors cited national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics that, although most brain injury patients get CT scans, more than 90% of those procedures reveal no structural brain injuries. The device, AHEAD 300, which was developed by Bethesda, MD-based BrainScope Company Inc., determines if a patient is likely to have bleeding in the brain through electrical activity monitoring and an algorithm.

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“Before our study, there were no objective, quantitative measures of mild head injury other than imaging,” explained lead investigator Daniel Hanley Jr., MD, the Legum Professor of Neurological Medicine and director of the Brain Injury Outcomes Program at Johns Hopkins. “This work opens up the possibility of diagnosing head injury in a very early and precise way.”

Hanley pointed out that the technology was not designed to replace CT scanning in patients with mild head injuries, “but it provides the clinician with additional information to facilitate routine clinical decision-making.”

It could even be used in the prehospital setting to help determine if patients need transport for emergency care or to triage accident victims, he added.

For the study, 720 adults with closed head injuries presenting to EDs between February and December 2015 were included. Standard clinical assessments for head injuries were conducted at each ED, and a trained technician administered the Standardized Assessment of Concussion and the Concussion Symptom Inventory followed by use of the AHEAD 300 device to measure electroencephalogram (EEG) data while patients rested.