New Neurophysiology Device Helps Treat Soldiers in Combat Zone
The U.S. Army Medical Materiel Agency (USAMMA), a subcommand of the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, recently fielded a Nihon Kohden Multi-Modality Neuro Device, responding to an Operational Needs Statement from the Afghanistan Theater of Operations (ATO). The device provides neurophysiological studies for forward troops, keeping Soldiers in the fight.
This U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved device synchronizes various modules, coordinates data, and provides a detailed analysis of vital recordings. A theater neurologist then interprets the findings to determine the patient’s disposition.
Ruling out mild and moderate traumatic brain injury (TBI) until now has been extremely difficult within the ATO. This new device allows Soldiers to be diagnosed early for further treatment or return to duty. Early evaluation and intervention for forward troops can prevent a trip to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center (LRMC) in Germany while also keeping forces at optimum strength.
According to CPT Matthew Kidd, who has performed approximately 20 studies using this device since its arrival in mid-September, approximately five studies have prevented patient evacuation to LRMC.
All blast injuries have the potential for open or closed brain injuries. Neurological injuries come from a variety of traumatic situations. Indications for an electroencephalogram, or brain-wave study, include any critically ill neurological patient with intracerebral bleeding or intracranial pressure, or in a comatose state.
Patients with TBI are also at risk for seizures. Neck and back pain complaints associated with weight-bearing actions also raise the concern for potential nerve damage.
Retaining Soldiers in theater is a major focus for the ATO, considering the vast majority of patients exposed to traumatic events without evidence of injury, or nerve or muscle abnormality. Sustainment of unit cohesion and operational readiness is critical to the U.S. military, and placing the Multi-Modality Neuro Device one step closer to the troops helps to accomplish this mission.
- DAN KENNEDY is Chief of the Acute Care Division in the Medical Devices Project Management Office of USAMMA.