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Institute of Chemical Engineering & High Temperature Chemical Processes (ICE-HT)
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  Title Non-Invasive early diagnosis of an on-coming brain swelling and/or oedema
  Group Applied Mechanics laboratory, ICE-HT
  Researcher prof. V. Kostopoulos
  Abstract The aim of the proposed equipment is the early diagnosis of an oncoming brain swelling and/or oedema for patients having experienced head injury, using non-invasive techniques. It offers valuable diagnostic information and the ability to detect whether or not a specific patient, will develop malignity brain oedema within the next few hours. Thus, it provides the necessary time for urgent medical treatment.
  Description The development of brain oedema, either localized or diffused, following head injury is caused by the distraction of liquid exchange within the cranial vault, which leads mainly to blood withholding. This phenomenon affects both physical and mechanical properties of brain parenchyma and at later stages it is expressed as an increase of brain volume.
This volume increase is accommodated at the first stages by reduction of the sub-arachnoidal space; however, later on it could be identified as increase of the Intra-Cranial Pressure (ICP). ICP is a critical measure for brain disorders. If ICP exceeds a critical level, it concludes to irreversible damage of brain functions and finally to patient's death. Traumatic lesions located on temporal lobe render particularly impeding the transtendoral herniation. From the medical point of view, intracranial pressure monitoring represents an effective way for early consideration of neurological decompensation in various neurosurgical conditions, particularly in the head injured setting. However, the use of ICP monitoring very often causes many irreversible problems to the patient brain. Therefore, the determination of an earlier, less injuring and more sensitive indicator of the on-coming intracranial hypertension and the impeding neurological deterioration is of profound importance.
The proposed methodology offers valuable diagnostic information and the ability to detect whether or not a specific patient, who experienced head injury, will develop malignity brain oedema within the next few hours. Thus, it provides the necessary time for urgent medical treatment. The early detection of an oncoming brain oedema will offer real help to those patients who appear normal or almost normal ICP values at the time of their admission in the hospital. These ICP values could be increased during the next few hours approaching a level, critical for the brain integrity. Thus, the major advantage of the proposed technique is that information for the on-coming brain oedema is available well in advance, before ICP increase is monitored.
The proposed system offers high diagnostic capabilities in the cases of patients who experienced head injury and it will become vital complementary equipment for every hospital, worldwide. Such a diagnostic system, which is not yet available, will assist neurosurgical clinics worldwide on the treatment of the head and brain injury offered to the patients. This concludes to the significance of the early diagnosis of an on-coming brain oedema, which permits the immediate action through medication or surgical operation, and the inversion of the ICP increase, which could lead to critical brain disorders, even patient's death.
Furthermore, the Critical Care Units in every hospital could be considered as essential users of the proposed technology in order to achieve an effective and accurate monitoring of patient's condition after a head injury, during the critical phase of his treatment. The proposed System for the Early Diagnosis of an On-coming Brain Oedema could become a complete diagnostic tool, offering high reciprocal benefits. It is expected to complement (or replace), in the very near future, the already existing and applied systems for ICP monitoring, due to its effectiveness and simplicity.
Moreover, the proposed method introduces advance technology in the field of head injury trauma treatment and overpasses ICP monitoring method in many ways:
First, the existing methods of ICP monitoring presume the intra-paregchimatically placement of the measuring catheter (invasive way), while the proposed system applies in a non-invasive way.
Secondly, the proposed system offers to a patient, who experienced head injury, a more sensitive and accurate continuous monitoring of the evolution of the existing real intracranial condition within the cranial vault.
  Current development phase The method and the apparatus is already available for demonstration (laboratory level).
  Intellectual property rights: The researcher has already applied for a patent in Greece
  Type of collaboration sought Technical co-operation, Licence agreement