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Project to Design Hybrid Stroke Imaging Technology

Stroke MRIs


15 December 2016. An alliance of academic and industry researchers in Europe is developing a single imaging device that can save valuable time in diagnosing a stroke. The project known as Predictive Prevention and Personalized Interventional Stroke Therapy, or P3 Stroke, is funded by European Institute of Innovation and Technology for Health, a publicly funded network affiliated with the Europe-wide research framework known as Horizon 2020.

Stroke is a medical emergency, where speed is essential to treat the condition to limit damage to the brain. The vast majority (85%) of strokes are ischemic strokes caused by blockages of arteries to the brain, depriving the brain of oxygen. Most others are hemorrhagic strokes where an artery in the brain leaks blood or ruptures.

P3 Stroke brings together researchers at Siemens Healthineers, the medical technology division of the global electronics company, with academic scientists at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität, or FAU, in Erlangen, Germany and other institutions in Germany, France, and Portugal. The team is expected to design a hybrid technology that combines the features of angiography and magnetic resonance imaging or MRI.

Both technologies are used to diagnose stroke in patients suspected of the condition. Angiography uses X-rays with contrast dies to detect blockages in arteries, while MRI employs magnetic fields and radio ways to scan organs in the body, particularly the brain and spinal cord. The technologies are often used sequentially, which uses valuable time. A 2006 study estimates some 1.9 million neurons are lost each minute a stroke is left untreated. A workflow analysis cited by the project funders estimates up to 30 minutes could be saved by combining the technologies.

FAU computer scientist Andreas Maier and neuroradiologist Arnd Dörfler at the nearby Erlangen university hospital will collaborate on designing the new hybrid technology. Maier’s Pattern Recognition Lab is expected to write new algorithms and software to integrate the imaging transmissions, while Dörfler and colleagues will conduct clinical evaluations. “The pioneering system,” says Dörfler in a university statement, “enables an exact picture of the development of the condition to be obtained without delay, allowing for effective treatment.”

The results of the project will not, however, be limited to stroke. The technology will also be extended to cover treatments for irregular heartbeat, using a catheter to remove pieces in the heart triggering the misfiring signals.

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