A heavy machine gun - this is what a new medicine instrument looks like. But the weapon is aimed at bleeding deep into the brain and could save a million people a year.
If a blood vessel bursts in the brain and the nerve cells become paralyzed by the pressure of the flowing blood, doctors must be quick.
The chance of surviving a brain haemorrhage is only 60 percent, and even if the patient is lucky the risk of permanent brain injury is high. Until recently, there was no fast, effective method to relieve brain pressure, but an American physician team has now developed a device that can remove as much as 92 percent of the dangerous blood accumulation in the brain in a short time.
The new device works like a kind of vacuum cleaner, which gently extracts the blood through a hole in the skull. Other scientists have tried that before, but their attempts have always failed when they have to send the tube to the blood collection. Vital parts of the brain were damaged, or the tube did not reach all corners of the blood accumulation. The procedure was therefore only used with a shallow embolism, while deeper brain hemorrhage required riskier procedures, whereby the skull of the patient was lifted and the brain was exposed. Thanks to a unique construction, the tube in the new device can, however, turn corners and reach the entire blood accumulation. Then a pump sucks the blood through the tube.
The researchers have tested the device on virtual patients: plastic skulls full of gelatin brain mass and red blood jelly.