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This blog post was written by Mehran Baboli (Langone Health Postdoc), Co-founder of Maxwell.
During my post-doctoral training, I was involved in a longitudinal study where we had to use a transcranial Doppler device to measure the blood flow of patients who had previously suffered from a stroke. Although we had an experienced ultrasound technician with us, we were unsuccessful in measuring some patients because the technician couldn't find the correct position for the device to measure the flow. This problem sparked the idea that evolved into Maxwell.
At Maxwell, we are working on building a fully automated and self-adjusted transcranial ultrasound device with novel hardware design and the accompanying software. The device is used to measure the cerebral hemodynamics used to detect strokes.
According to the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, strokes are the fifth leading cause of death in the United States. It is also a significant cause of severe disability for adults. In the US, someone has a stroke every 40 seconds, and every 4 minutes someone dies of a stroke.
Emergency medical services (EMS) professionals are critical to a stroke patient's treatment. Not only do they transport the patient to a hospital or certified stroke center, but they also collect valuable information that guides treatment and alert hospital medical staff before the patient arrives at the emergency room, giving them time to prepare. Currently, there is not a rapid tool that can be used before arriving at the hospital for diagnoses of the large vessel ischemic stroke, which guides the use of the correct therapy. Because the time to treatment for stroke is critical, there is a substantial need for a device that can be used in ambulances so that patients are rapidly provided the correct care.
It is possible to measure blood flow directly and to detect the location of large vessel occlusion using TCD. However, it requires specialized training to position and to interpret the complex signal. Our portable device can be carried by first responders and be used without specialized training, and hence can provide rapid and accurate assessments of patients' needs for appropriate clinical intervention.