A new computer tool engineered to ensure quicker care and treatment for stroke patients has been developed by researchers in Hong Kong, according to a news release from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU). The release notes that the CAD stroke technology is designed to detect signs of stroke from computed tomography (CT) scans and may hold promise for patients sustaining ischemic strokes, which account for more than 80% of overall stroke cases.

Fuk-hay Tang, PhD, department of Health Technology and Informatics at PolyU, reportedly demonstrated the process, in which CT scans are fed into the CAD stroke computer. The computer is built to then make sophisticated calculations and comparisons to locate areas of suspected of insufficient blood flow. Within 10 minutes, the release states, scans with highlighted areas of abnormality are produced for the doctor’s review. Early changes, including loss of insular ribbon, loss of sulcus, and dense MCA signs, can be identified, allowing doctors to determine if blood clots are present.

Tang emphasizes the key role time plays for stroke patients. “Medications taken in 3 hours from the onset of stroke are deemed most effective. Chances of recovery decrease with every minute passing by. It usually takes half an hour for the ambulance to arrive at the hospital, at best. Then, another 45 minutes to 1 hour are needed for CT or MRI scans after the patient has been checked and dispatched for the test, which means some waiting and time will slip by. Afterward, the brain scan will take another 10 to 15 minutes. If our tool can help doctors arrive at a diagnosis in 10 minutes, the shorter response time will make meeting the target more achievable,” Tang says.

Tang adds that the tool may also be useful for physicians with less experience in stroke, “and patient care can be maintained in hospitals where human and other vital resources are already stretched to the limit.”

The release reports that the technology can also detect subtle and minute changes in the brain that may escape even an experienced specialist. This means false-positive and false-negative cases, and other less serious conditions that mimic a stroke can also be ruled out, allowing a fully informed decision to be made, the release says.

The CAD stroke technology also comes equipped with a built-in artificial intelligence feature, allowing it to learn by experience. With each scan and feedback from stroke specialists, the application is designed to improve its accuracy over time.

[Source(s): Science Daily, PolyU]