Negative Pressure Device Shows Potential to Treat Traumatic Brain Injury
When the brain is injured by blunt force, explosion, or other trauma, the cells at the impact site are irreversibly damaged and die. In the area surrounding the sound, injured cells release toxic substances that cause the brain to swell and restrict blood flow and oxygen levels. Researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center have found that the size and extent of damaged tissue in traumatic brain injury patients can be reduced by using a new device to prevent cell death.
The technology, tested in rats, is called mechanical tissue resuscitation (MTR) and uses negative pressure to create an environment that fosters cell survival.
In the study, a bioengineered material matrix was placed directly on the injured area in the brain and attached to a flexible tube connected to a microcomputer vacuum pump. The pump delivered a carefully controlled vacuum to the injured brain for 72 hours, drawing fluid from the injury site.
The brain injuries treated with the device showed a significant decrease in brain swelling and release of toxic substances when compared to untreated injuries. Brains treated with the device showed that over 50 percent more brain tissue could be preserved, compared to nontreated animals. Behavioral function tests demonstrated that function was returned faster in the MTR treated group. Researchers are now studying the same technology in stroke and brain hemorrhage models.
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