Study Tests Sound Waves to Monitor Pressure Inside the Skull
Swelling is generally the human body part’s response when it gets subjected to injuries. Notice that your knees will likely swell when you bump into something hard?
What is Brain Swelling?
Your brain can also swell when it is subjected to pressure due to different factors. When swelling happens it can also lead to increase in the brain’s fluid volume.These fluids naturally surround your brain and acts as your brain’s protection. The resulting pressure causes oxygen deprivation in your brain as it blocks blood from properly flowing into your brain.
Brain swelling is also known as ICP or Increased Intracranial Pressure and may also be referred to as edema. ICP can occur due to severe head trauma or head injury, stroke, hydrocephalus, and brain tumors. It may also happen as a result of infections such as encephalitis, meningitis and toxoplasmosis.
When ICP becomes intractable or the pressure becomes too much, it can lead to serious neurological damage and worst results to death. This is why monitoring the pressure inside the skull is of paramount importance. Continuous monitoring allows the doctors to find out ways to intervene high ICP or to identify suitable therapies and medications to lower ICP and prevent complications.
How ICP is monitored
As of this time, the only way to monitor the levels of ICP or pressure inside the skull is through a very delicate invasive procedure where a hole will be drilled into the patient’s skull to allow sensor-equipped catheters to be inserted into the skull. Although this procedure comes with relatively serious potential risks which includes damage and infection to the tissues of the brain as well as bleeding, there is actually no non-invasive methods that can be employed to monitor ICP levels currently available.
Meanwhile, researchers have recently reported that there is currently an experiment conducted to develop a non-invasive method to measure the level of ICP and the pressure inside the skull. The said study involves using sound waves to do the job of the ICP monitoring. There have been various developments made to support the study.
Based on an article, the Journal of Neurosurgery, which has been published on the 8thof August 2017, the new study seems to generate encouraging outcomes. The German researchers involved in the study have successfully tested out the noninvasive method using the sound waves on 14 of their patients and the researchers have reported to get very promising results.
Furthermore, as stated on the recent journal news article release, the noninvasive approach, “uses advanced signal analysis algorithms to evaluate properties of acoustic signals that pass through the brain in order to determine” the pressure going on inside the skull".
In the news release, Dr. Oliver Gandslant, the Medical Director at Klinikum Stuttgart in Germany’s neurosurgery clinic, has likewise stated that “The first results look promising, but further refinements in the algorithm will be necessary to allow a reliable clinical application.”
So, if this study indeed proves to be successful, this is probably one of the most important contribution that will greatly benefit a lot of neurosurgical patients.