December Innovation – Infrascanner

The handheld revolution isn’t slowing down anytime soon. It seems that there will be no slowing down until you can do ANYTHING and EVERYTHING in the palm of your hand – that’s innovation for you!

Last month we profiled the Heart Hero App, a great handheld medical tool for the masses. For December, we are talking about the Infrascanner Model 1000, an innovative hand-held tool (without an innovative name) that can identify patients with critical internal head injuries.

Heart Hero


The purpose of the Infrascanner is to provide early detection of intracranial hematomas; a life-threatening internal bleeding that happens in the skull. Intracranial hematomas form when a head injury causes blood to accumulate within the brain or between the brain and the skull and in some cases surgery is needed to drain blood from a hematoma.

Health care providers can use the Infrascanner to determine who needs an immediate brain imaging study such as a CT-scan and who does not. By placing a higher priority on those whose injuries are more severe, doctors can provide improved care to each individual patient.

The Infrascanner uses a technology called near-infrared spectroscopy that penetrates bone and tissue. The blood caused by hematomas absorbs the light differently than other areas of the brain giving the scanner a clear picture of what’s happening inside the skull. Trained health care providers can then use the information to determine the likelihood of an intracranial hematoma.

According to the Brain Injury Association of Canada, there are over 18,000 hospital stays each year due to traumatic brain injuries. With one quick assessment the Infrascanner can expedite the emergency care process and give doctors the edge they need to accurately evaluate a vast amount of these patients.

“While patients with suspected brain injuries routinely receive a CT scan, this portable device offers emergency room physicians a non-invasive mechanism to aid in assessing whether an immediate CT scan is needed,” said Christy Foreman, director of the Office of Device Evaluation at FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health.

Portable medical technology has made huge leaps forward in recent years, but technologies such as the Infrascanner are still in their infancy and will continue to develop. Currently the Infrascanner is able to detect 75 percent of hematomas detected by a CT scan. While this is a huge accomplishment, there are still improvements to be made before the Infrascanner is as accurate as a CT scanner, but I am sure we will get there soon.

Can’t wait to see what sort of innovations 2012 will bring us!