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FDA approves Ahead 200 for traumatic brain injury assessment

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the use of a new handheld medical device for analyzing brain injuries, Ahead 200.

In May 2015, the Ahead 200 was cleared by the FDA to help clinicians assess mildly-presenting head trauma patients.

The device, which was developed by the US Army Medical Research and Materiel Command’s Combat Casualty Care Research Program, or CCRP, and the BrainScope Company, uses commercial smartphone technology to analyze a patient’s brain activity for signs of a traumatic brain injury within 24 hours of the injury.

CCCRP Technology Enabled Capability Demonstration: Brain in Combat portfolio program manager Lt Col Chessley Atchison said: "Traumatic brain injuries have been one of the signature injuries in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"There is a great need for a tool like this in theater. A normal [electroencephalogram] machine is a big piece of machinery and can’t be used in the field."

The device works by measuring the brain’s electrical activity via a disposable headset that is placed on the forehead.

Once recorded, the Ahead 200 uses algorithms that quantify and characterize activity associated with traumatic brain injuries.

Used in conjunction with other tools, the Ahead 200 medical device will help assist clinicians in the real-time screening and care of warfighters with head injuries.

Atchison added: "The size and ease of use of the Ahead 200 allows medics to triage wounded warfighters quickly.

"Our goal is to not only save lives, but to ensure the best possible outcome for those injured in the line of duty, and tools like the Ahead 200 help us reach that goal."