Clogged blood vessels in the brain detected by ultrasound robot



A blocked blood vessel in the brain must be acted quickly

Research is currently being conducted at Maastricht UMC + into the use of a special ultrasound robot to quickly detect clogged blood vessels in the brain. The device is independently capable of imaging the blood flow of the large brain vessels within a few minutes and determining whether, for example, a blood clot is present.

A blocked blood vessel in the brain must be acted quickly. A diagnosis can be made in various ways, with a CT scan being the gold standard. However, this is a costly method that can only be performed in a hospital. The sooner a decision can be made about a blockage, the better, as this can change treatment options. If it is possible to detect a blockage of a cerebral vessel already outside the hospital, this can significantly shorten the time to treatment and thus increase the chance of recovery.

Sound waves
An alternative method of detecting a blockage in the brain is by ultrasound. In addition, sound waves are used to check whether the blood flow in the large brain vessels is still intact. If the sound waves do not return a signal, this is a sign that, for example, a blood clot is present. Normally, such an examination is carried out by a trained laboratory technician, but the mobile ultrasound robot can change this by doing the detection independently within a few minutes.

The method is quite simple. The patient places his head on a stand and reference stickers are applied to both sides. The ultrasound machine is placed against it. The robot then uses sound waves to search for the large blood vessels. As soon as the robot detects a blood flow via the ultrasound machine, it optimizes the signal. If the robot receives a signal from both sides, then there is no blockage. “We give the robot no more than five minutes to do this,” says neurologist Rik Houben of Maastricht UMC +. “If he gets an echo signal from only one side, we know that something is very likely going on.” The conclusions of the robot are compared in a research context with the results of a CT scan and manual ultrasound examination. Houben: “We currently only test on patients who come to the Emergency Department or the Vascular Room, but if the ultrasound robot can actually prove its added value, the next step is to use the device in the ambulance. After all, time is crucial. ”

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Name author and / or edited by: Maastricht UMC+
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Source for this article: Maastricht UMC+
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Original title: Ultrasound robot detects clogged blood vessels in the brain
Target audience: Healthcare Professionals, Students
Date: 2020-09-28

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