NEW YORK CITY, N.Y. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Researchers are testing a new wearable device that can recognize serious strokes; strokes where there’s almost total blockage of blood to the brain. By identifying these patients quickly, first responders can direct them immediately to hospitals that offer the advanced emergency care they need to survive.
On April 17th, Eileen Sherrick’s day started like any other, but ended in an ambulance racing to the hospital. The last thing she remembers is being on the phone with her brother, Dennis.
“And he said to me, ‘Eileen, you’re not talking right.’ I couldn’t really speak. I went ‘bah,’ and with that I fell right down on the ground,” Sherrick explained to Ivanhoe.
Eileen had a major stroke. A clot was blocking an artery to her brain. Surgeons performed a thrombectomy, using a catheter to quickly remove the clot. Doctors say Eileen was lucky, not every hospital has that expertise.
“They could lose a few hours by going to a center that doesn’t have that capability and time is brain. And every minute counts when you’re treating a patient with stroke,” said Christopher Kellner, MD, Cerebrovascular Neurosurgeon at Mount Sinai. (Read Full Interview)
Doctor Kellner is testing a device that can quickly tell if a patient is having a major stroke. It’s called volumetric integral phase-shift spectroscopy or VIPS.
Doctor Kellner continued, “The VIPS device is like an EKG for the brain, except it’s much more accurate than an EKG is.”
The VIPS is a visor that emits radiofrequency waves. When it’s placed on the head, it detects any differences between the two sides of the brain, indicating a major blockage. While Eileen has made an almost complete recovery, she knows other stroke patients are not always as fortunate.
Sherrick said, “It can come on you in the slightest moment.”
Researchers say putting VIPS in the hands of first responders, and on the heads of patients could soon save time and lives.
In a multi-center trial of the VIPS device, Doctor Kellner and his colleagues found it was 92 percent effective in identifying large strokes from small strokes. Patients having small strokes would not need the same, immediate surgery to restore blood flow, and could benefit from other treatments, like medication.
Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Field and Supervising Producer; Kirk Manson, Videographer; Gabriella Battistiol, Assistant Producer; Roque Correa, Editor.
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TOPIC: VIPS: TIME IS BRAIN
REPORT: MB #4319
BACKGROUND: Strokes affect the arteries leading to and within the brain. They are the number five cause of death and one of the leading causes of disability in the United States. Strokes occur when a blood vessel that carries oxygen and nutrients to the brain is either blocked because of a clot, or it bursts/ruptures. When this occurs, part of the brain cannot get the blood and oxygen it needs and as a result brain cells die. Strokes can be classified as ischemic, when a clot obstructs the flow of the blood to the brain. A hemorrhagic stroke is when a blood vessel ruptures and prevents blood flow to the brain; finally, a transient ischemic attack or a “mini stroke” is caused by a temporary clot. When a stroke occurs and blood flow can’t reach the region that controls a particular body function that part of the body will not work as it should.
WARNING SIGNS: One of the biggest ways to remember how to spot signs of a stroke is the word FAST. Fast stands for face drooping, arm weakness, speech difficulty, and time to call 911. Look for face drooping. Does one side of the face droop or does the person feel numbness? Ask the person to smile and see if it is lopsided or uneven. Check for arm weakness or numbness; ask the person to raise both of their arms. Does one arm drift downward? Finally look for speech difficulty. Is their speech slurred? Is the person unable to speak or are you having trouble understanding them? Try and ask the person to repeat a simple sentence like “the grass is green” or “the sky is blue.” Is the person able to correctly repeat whatever you are asking them to say? Overall if you see any of these signs, the final step is to call 911. Even if the symptoms go away, immediately call and say “I think this is a stroke,” to assist getting the person to the hospital as quickly as possible. Time is important, don’t delay and also take note when the symptoms first appear. Emergency responders will want to know the details of when exactly their signs started showing up.
NEW TECHNOLOGY: A new non-invasive, visor-like neurological device is helping identify whether or not patients are having large strokes versus small strokes, allowing for early intervention to possibly prevent further brain damage. The clinical trials showed the importance of incorporating this technology into the treatment process, as it helps emergency responders quickly identify the correct treatment options for these patients; as a result saving more lives. Identifying the exact kind of stroke a person is suffering from results in responders knowing whether or not emergency surgery is needed immediately and which patients may not need such serious instant treatment. The technology passes low-energy electromagnetic waves through the brain, thereby detecting small changes to the brain’s electrical properties. These are related to the brain tissue, fluid status, and asymmetries which can be indicative of the clinical problems.
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