When first responders are faced with the challenge of caring for a patient with a traumatic brain injury (TBI), whether that be in the Emergency Room, out in the field, or on the front lines, two dilemmas usually come to mind: what is the extent of their initial injury, and are there any secondary injuries underway?
Unfortunately, the current available technologies make answering such questions difficult. This includes gauging a patient’s intracranial pressure (ICP) or evaluating the presence of any additional brain edema or ischemia at the scene. Current technologies use invasive processes that require special training and can often lead to complications such as infection or additional injury.
Dr. Tiba and his team are working to develop non-invasive methods using electrical bioimpedance and ultrasound in a novel manner that will not only evaluate ICP but also monitor cerebrovascular autoregulation (CAR), one of the most important neuroprotective processes of the brain. CAR reflects the brain’s blood vessels’ ability to relax and contract to compensate for changes in blood pressure and maintain a steady flow of blood. If CAR is impaired, severe secondary brain injury occurs.
Ocular bioimpedance measures the tissue's resistance to an induced current or voltage, and non-invasively tracks changes in cerebral blood flow to predict CAR impairments.
Treatment strategies for TBI are significantly aimed at preventing secondary brain damage. CAR can be monitored to optimize care and prevent secondary brain injury, however, current technologies are invasive, require a high level of experience, and only provide intermittent readings.
This technology is non-invasive, does not require an experienced operator, and is compact in size, meaning it can be used by caregivers across all echelons of care. Ocular bioimpedance could provide valuable early information on CAR to help inform the diagnosis and treatment of TBI.