Traumatic injuries cause about six million deaths per year worldwide, and many survivors suffer life-long disabilities.Traffic accidents and falls in the home are common causes. Thoracic (related to chest) account for over a quarter of fatal and severe injuries. Two common thoracic severe injuries are pneumothorax (PTX) and hemothorax (HTX), i.e. presence of air and blood in the pleural space (between the membranes surrounding the lungs). These conditions can be life threatening because an expanding mass of air or blood inside the chest will compress central organs such as the lungs, heart and major blood vessels. Both PTX and HTX are easy to treat with thoracocentesis, i.e. insertion of decompressing chest tubes. Successful treatment depends upon an early diagnosis, which is a challenge in prehospital care. Thus, there is a need of a PTX and HTX point-of-care diagnostic tool in the prehospital setting, i.e. in road and air ambulances.
In this project the intent is to evaluate the use of microwave technology (MWT) combined with electrical bioimpedance (EBI) to diagnose and monitor PTX/HTX, and measure vital signs such as heart rate, respiratory rate and hemodynamics. This is the first step towards a prehospital tool for PTX and HTX diagnosis. MTW and EBI are the technologies of choice because they are ideal for the prehospital environment, as they are non-invasive, harmless, inexpensive, portable and easy to use. The project will also investigate how the future product could be integrated into the prehospital ICT setting.
The project will use a very realistic animal model (pig) of PTX/HTX developed by Dr Nils Petter Oveland at University of Stavanger, MWT developed by Medfield Diagnostics AB, and a commercial EBI system. Pilot tests of two pigs have yielded very promising results and have received attention from world leading experts. The pilot study resulted in two scientific publications (Buendia et al 2016; Oveland et al 2015)- the latter was awarded the best poster of the London Trauma Conference 2014. The intent is now to extend the pilot study by measuring 15 pigs, to obtain proof-of-concept, and hopefully pave the way for clinical trials and commercialization of the methodology.
The project is a collaboration between MedTech West, PICTA (Prehospital ICT Arena) at Lindholmen Science Park, Signals and Systems at Chalmers, SAFER Vehicle and Traffic Safety Centre, Medfield Diagnostics AB who provides MTW measurement equipment, and University of Stavanger and Norwegian University of Life Sciences with worldleading medical competence about trauma, thoracic injuries and animal models for PTX/HTX.
Buendia R et al. Electrical bioimpedance for diagnosing thoracic injuries: Test on a porcine pneumothorax and hemothorax model. Traffic Injury Prevention 2016 17, S1, 196–199
Oveland et al. A Wearable Microwave Detector for Diagnosing Thoracic Injuries. Scandinavian Journal of Trauma,Resuscitation and Emergency Medicine 2015 23 (Suppl 2): A20