Portable brain scanning technology developed by EMVision Medical Devices (ASX: EMV) has been further enhanced by the addition of two new techniques with the potential to significantly improve the diagnosis and care of stroke patients.
The company said dielectric mapping, which provides high fidelity anatomical detail to assess stroke impact, and pulsatility for the diagnosis of large vessel occlusion (LVO) ischaemic strokes, could offer valuable insights to clinicians for earlier interventions and better patient outcomes.
EMVision’s brain scanner is a portable imaging device which collects diagnostic information obtained non-invasively from patients and without the use of ionising radiation, to rapidly distinguish between ischaemic and haemorrhagic strokes.
Ischaemic strokes occur when an arterial blockage reduces blood flow and oxygen to the brain, while haemorrhagic strokes happen when a ruptured blood vessel causes bleeding inside the brain.
EMVision chief executive officer Dr Ron Weinberger said the new techniques could have positive implications on the future of stroke care.
“Dielectric maps will have a dramatic impact on the interpretation of data from our algorithms,” he said.
“Pulsatility is a complementary technique that alongside our existing diagnostic algorithms, has the potential to improve diagnosis and treatment and save more lives.”
He said extensive clinical trials around the world have demonstrated the robust patient outcomes which can be achieved for stroke patients with earlier thrombolysis (tPA) and thrombectomy (clot retrieval) for those eligible.
EMVision’s dielectric maps technique produces high-fidelity images of brain structures by mapping and analysing tissue permittivity, offering a breakthrough in mobile imaging for the clinical interpretation of the effect of anatomical structural changes.
In almost real time, clinicians will be able to see the structure of a stroke and better understand its impacts.
Inclusion of this technology will enable clinicians to see an image that uniquely visualises anatomical electrical properties alongside diagnostic algorithms yet is familiar in appearance to a computerised tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan.
It is expected to be deployed where CT and MRI are not accessible or practical, by the bedside and potentially in the pre-hospital setting such as in road and air ambulances.
Patients with ischaemic stroke due to LVO will typically experience severe neurological deficits and poor outcomes if not treated quickly.
The novel method of processing signal data known as pulsatility could potentially enable the earlier identification and triage of these patients.
The technique can be used to measure blood flow through the brain, identifying the degree of occlusion (or blockage) at the earliest stages as well as potentially localising the extent of salvageable tissue and the effect of reperfusion therapy (treatment to restore blood flow).
Dr Weinberger said pulsatility could be used to avoid “devastating treatment delays and unnecessary disability” and help minimise associated downstream healthcare, insurer, and societal costs.
“For individuals who have acute ischemic stroke, the key to effective treatment is early reperfusion of ischaemic brain without causing adverse effects,” he said.
“Pulsatility could be delivered at the point-of-care without the need for contrast agents or ionising radiation.”
Global clinical trials have demonstrated that earlier identification of LVO could improve 90-day functional outcomes in patients.
“Our pulsatility technique may enable rapid triage of these patients directly to the angiography suite at comprehensive stroke centres for earlier intervention,” Dr Weinberger said.