Small CT brain scanner installed in ambulances or emergency planes could save the lives of stroke patients


Adelaide’s company Micro-X (MX1) has started to develop a small brain CT scanner that can be installed in ambulances and emergency planes. If successful, the device will allow paramedics and recovery teams to diagnose and then begin treating stroke patients at the golden hour – the first hour after a stroke.

Today, Micro-X signed a project agreement that will unlock $ 8 million in funding from a $ 40 million grant to the Australian Stroke Alliance under the government’s Frontier Health and Medical Research initiative. Australian. The funding will help develop the scanner for patient imaging trials in 2023.

This year, stroke will affect more than 15 million people worldwide – 5 million will die and another 5 million will be permanently disabled. In Australia, there are around 38,000 strokes per year, or more than 100 per day.

“Your best chance of surviving a stroke is in the first hour after the attack – the so-called ‘golden hour’ Professor Stephen Davis, AO, of the Australian Stroke Alliance, said.

“Detecting and starting treatment within this time frame gives patients a much better chance to survive and recover with limited brain damage” he said.

“This scanner would allow us to determine the type of stroke in a few minutes and start treatment on the way to the hospital. Graeme Rayson, director of operations, SA Ambulance Service (SAAS), said.

“An aeromedical stroke unit would save hours of diagnosis for remote patients, which would allow our teams to travel to a community, scan the patient and begin treatment immediately on the plane en route to a hospital. hospital, ”Dr Mardi Steere, executive director general of medical and recovery services, said the Royal Flying Doctor Service (central operations).

While some health services have mobile stroke units (MSUs) – fully equipped, custom-built specialist vehicles that can accommodate a conventional integrated CT scanner and acute stroke specialist staff – these cost more than a million. dollars each and require reinforcement to support the weight of the CT scanner plus they are dedicated to stroke imaging.

These have given good results for patients, but the size, weight, cost, and workflow of conventional CT technology mean that MSUs will always be relatively rare, especially in rural and regional communities.

Micro-X’s technology, on the other hand, has the potential to turn every ambulance into a stroke-capable ambulance.

We invented an electronic x-ray tube. It is already in use in mobile radiography units in hospital emergencies and intensive care rooms. We will create a small arc using a number of these patented X-ray tubes and a curved detector developed in partnership with Fujifilm, to create a compact and robust CT scanner with no moving parts that could be installed in every ambulance. “

Peter Rowland, Managing Director, Micro-X

The project is made possible by Micro-X’s carbon nanotube emitter (CNT) technology.

Micro-X has successfully completed the first imaging studies with the Melbourne Brain Center.

The second stage of the collaboration will continue the development and refinement of the device with the intention of conducting patient imaging trials in approximately three years.

Micro-X will build on established relationships with Fujifilm, Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, USA, the MADA Monash University Health Collab, and the Melbourne Brain Center at Royal Melbourne Hospital. Micro-X is also sending an employee to Johns Hopkins University as a Flinders University doctoral student for three years.

We are excited to be at the forefront of developing technology that has the potential to radically transform healthcare for all Australians., ” Rowland said.

This unique collaboration places Australia and the Australian Stroke Alliance at the forefront of global best practice in stroke care, which could be adopted as a new standard for stroke diagnosis and management ” , Professor Stephen Davis, AO, of the Australian Stroke Alliance, said.


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