Prehospital Diagnostics for Traumatic Thoracic Injuries project receives co-funding
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.