Archeoptix in The Kingston Whig Standard
Launch Lab client Archeoptix is in the Kingston Whig Standard today!
KINGSTON – A local company is hoping to market a device that can scan the human brain to detect bleeding that, if not treated quickly, could prove fatal.
ArcheOptix Inc.’s hematoma detector is a handheld, non-invasive device that could be used by emergency personnel to find bleeding on the brain of a person with a head injury so the patient could be transported more quickly to a hospital for a full CT scan.
Entrepreneur Sav Stratis is the president and CEO of the company, which is located on the former Alcan property. It draws its name from the Greek for “First Light.”
The lead inventor of the device is Dr. Jason Riley. He was looking to commercialize it and partnered with Stratis.
“It came out of a project I was doing working with the military with veterans with shrapnel in their head,” explained Riley.
They wanted some way to tell if a soldier’s combat head injury was serious enough to warrant a risky air evacuation.
“They wanted a device a (soldier) could operate out of the back of a HUMVEE.”
Quickly determining if there is bleeding in the brain is critical, he said. The danger comes from the pressure placed on the brain by the blood trapped inside the skull.
The current mortality rate for acute bleeds is 50-80%, he said. “Of those who survive, there is a lot of brain damage.”
“If it is an acute bleed, you have to treat it within an hour, or you are at strong risk of brain damage or death,” he continued.
He cited the case of actress Natasha Richardson who died following a skiing accident in 2009. She had taken what she thought was a routine tumble in the snow, refused medical attention, but later developed headaches. She eventually sought hospital treatment.
“Then it was too late. She died.”
It proved to be an epidural hematoma, bleeding on the brain.
There are other cases of football players who took a blow to the head, sat on the bench to recover and then died.
“It is the highest killer in contact sports,” said Riley.
Stratis said there is a “golden hour” between the injury occurring and treatment beginning for bleeding on the brain if serious damage or death is to be avoided.
Their device is not a diagnostic tool, he stressed.
“It is a device to help in the triage of epidural and subdural hematomas, to get them to the hospital as quickly as possible and get them into a CT rather than sitting around in an emergency room with the injury either growing or getting beyond the point of possible brain damage.”
Normally, such bleeding would be found through a CT scan after the patient has been transported to a hospital, said Riley.
“If you are a trauma patient you are probably going to get a CT fairly quickly,” he said. It is the less obvious injuries that could create the problem.
“You could sit in an ER for a couple of hours before someone sticks a CT scanner on because these are silent injuries.”
He believes their device could be placed in ambulances, schools, seniors’ homes, with ski patrols, anywhere where someone could suffer a head injury.
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A triage situation in a multi-car pile-up would be a perfect example of the worth of a new device that scans a person’s head to see if there is any bleeding on the brain, said Sav Stratis, president of the Kingston company that is developing such a tool.
Paramedics may be faced with multiple head injuries but currently have no certain way to know which, if any, of their patients have bleeding on the brain, he said.
Those are the victims who would need to be transported first to hospital.
The company has produced a prototype of the unit, which will eventually be smaller, Stratis explained.
It will be going through investigative trials before going to market. They hope to see it commercially available by the end of the year.
“It is potentially a long, involved process,” he said. But he is confident.
“Everyone has said it’s a fabulous idea.”
It could also help out at the hospital by letting them know a definite brain bleed is on the way, he said.
“It would allow the hospital to best use their resources, knowing that somebody is coming in with a head injury.”
The device is non-ionizing, unlike a CT scan, so it doesn’t subject anyone, particularly children, to unnecessary radiation.
It scans the head with a type of light, inventor Dr. Jason Riley explained.
There is another type of product that also scans the brain, said Stratis, but he feels it isn’t as effective as their’s since it only scans one section of the brain at a time.
“Ours is a scan of the whole head.”
A new version of the device is already in the works, including on-board imaging, and should be ready in a couple of years.