Results from a study to be presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s Annual Meeting found the use of transcranial Doppler ultrasound accurately diagnosed concussions in athletes.
“There is growing evidence that concussions can change the blood flow in the brain,” study author Robert Hamilton, PhD, co-founder of Neural Analytics in Los Angeles and a member of the American Academy of Neurology, said in a press release from the American Academy of Neurology. “While such changes may be detected with MRI, we believe there may be a less expensive and portable way to measure these changes with a transcranial Doppler (TCD) device.”
Hamilton and colleagues compared 66 high school contact sport athletes who were diagnosed with concussions to a group of 169 age-matched, non-contact and contact athletes. Within 12 days of injury, treating physicians took post-injury measurements and made initial diagnoses. Measurements included monitoring middle cerebral artery with TCD ultrasounds as athletes held their breath to follow cerebrovascular reactivity protocol. Investigators also collected arterial blood pressure, end-tidal carbon dioxide and concussion evaluations.
Results showed investigators were able to differentiate between concussed athletes and healthy athletes 83% of the time.
“This research suggests that this advanced form of ultrasound may provide a more accurate diagnosis of concussion,” Hamilton said in the release. “While more research is needed, the hope is such a tool could one day be used on the sidelines to help determine more quickly whether an athlete needs further testing.” ‒ by Monica Jaramillo
Hamilton R, et al. Paper #7. Presented at: American Academy of Neurology Annual Meeting; April 15- 21, 2016; Vancouver, Canada.
Disclosure: The study was supported by the NIH and the National Science Foundation.