Clinical evaluation of a portable near-infrared device for detection of traumatic intracranial hematomas

Claudia S. Robertson, Eric L. Zager, Raj K. Narayan, Neal Handly, Alok Sharma, Daniel F. Hanley, Homero Garza, Eileen Maloney-Wilensky, Justin M. Plaum, Carolyn H. Koenig, Anne Johnson, Timothy Morgan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations


The purpose of this multicenter observational clinical study was to evaluate the performance of a near-infrared (NIR)-based, non-invasive, portable device to screen for traumatic intracranial hematomas. Five trauma centers collected data using the portable NIR device at the time a computed tomography (CT) scan was performed to evaluate a suspected traumatic brain injury (TBI). The CT scans were read by an independent neuroradiologist who was blinded to the NIR measurements. Of 431 patients enrolled, 365 patients were included in the per-protocol population analyzed. Of the 365 patients, 96 were determined by CT scan to have intracranial hemorrhages of various sizes, depths, and anatomical locations. The NIR device demonstrated sensitivity of 88% (95% confidence interval [CI] 74.9,95.0%), and specificity of 90.7% (95% CI 86.4,93.7%), in detecting the 50 intracranial hematomas that were large enough to be clinically important (larger than 3.5 mL in volume), and that were less than 2.5 cm from the surface of the brain. For all 96 cases with intracranial hemorrhage, regardless of size and type of hemorrhage, the sensitivity was 68.7% (CI 58.3,77.6%), and specificity was 90.7% (CI 86.4,93.7%). These results confirm the results of previous studies that indicate that a NIR-based portable device can reliably screen for intracranial hematomas that are superficial and of a size likely to be of clinical importance. The NIR device cannot replace CT scanning in the diagnosis of TBI, but the device might be useful to supplement clinical information used to triage TBI patients, and in situations in which CT scanning is not readily available.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1597-1604
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of neurotrauma
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2010


  • head injury
  • intracranial hematomas
  • near-infrared spectroscopy
  • traumatic brain injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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