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BioMed Research International
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 1846830, 6 pages
Clinical Study

Intracranial Hematoma Detection by Near Infrared Spectroscopy in a Helicopter Emergency Medical Service: Practical Experience

1Department of Anesthesiology, VU University Medical Center, De Boelelaan 1117, 1007 MB Amsterdam, Netherlands
2Trauma Center and Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) Lifeliner 1, VU University Medical Center, De Boelelaan 1117, 1007 MB Amsterdam, Netherlands

Correspondence should be addressed to Lothar A. Schwarte

Received 30 March 2017; Revised 11 May 2017; Accepted 31 May 2017; Published 22 June 2017

Academic Editor: Detlef Obal

Copyright © 2017 Patrick Schober et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


In (helicopter) emergency medical services, (H)EMS, the prehospital detection of intracranial hematomas should improve patient care and the triage to specialized neurosurgical hospitals. Recently, noninvasive detection of intracranial hematomas became possible by applying transcranial near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS). Herein, second-generation devices are currently available, for example, the Infrascanner 2000 (Infrascan), that appear suited also for prehospital (H)EMS applications. Since (H)EMS operations are time-critical, we studied the Infrascanner 2000 as a “first-time-right” monitor in healthy volunteers (, hospital employees, no neurologic history). Further, we studied the implementation of the Infrascanner 2000 in a European HEMS organization (Lifeliner 1, Amsterdam, The Netherlands). The principal results of our study were as follows: The screening for intracranial hematomas in healthy volunteers with first-time-right intention resulted in a marked rate of virtual hematomas (false positive results, i.e., 12/17), rendering more time consuming repeat measurements advisable. The results of the implementation of the Infrascanner in HEMS suggest that NIRS-based intracranial hematoma detection is feasible in the HEMS setting. However, some drawbacks exist and their possible solutions are discussed. Future studies will have to demonstrate how NIRS-based intracranial hematoma detection will improve prehospital decision making in (H)EMS and ultimately patient outcome.