Research brief: iPhone app detects strokes

By Emily Macphail

What comes to mind when you think of iPhone apps? Angry Birds, iTunes and OpenTable possibly.

But for doctor Ross Mitchell and clinical professor Mayank Goyal, an application that allows faster diagnosis of strokes is at the top of the list.

An ischemic stroke, which is caused by a lack of blood flow to the brain, can cause permanent neurological damage. In the treatment of ischemic strokes, time is of the essence as a delay of even a few minutes can change outcomes.

ResolutionMD, developed by Mitchell, is an application that allows doctors to access imaging results at a distance, increasing their ability to quickly diagnose strokes.

In the study, designed by Goyal, two neuroradiologists retrospectively read 190 images, both noncontrast computed tomography brain scans and computed tomography angiograms.

One physician accessed the images through a medical diagnostic workstation and an iPod or iPhone, while the other used only the iPod or iPhone.

The diagnostic outcomes of the physicians using the different devices were then computed and compared.

The study found that the developed application has fairly high specificity, sensitivity and accuracy when compared to a diagnostic workstation. The interpretation times for the alternative devices were also the same, suggesting that the application could improve interpretation times by allowing physicians to access images from remote locations.

Additionally, the application gets around the issue of patient information confidentiality in a unique way. Rather than transfering patient files to the device, a server with hospital security loads and creates the images, which are then transmitted to the application.

Another benefit of the new application is that it uploads images in seconds and allows for 2D or 3D interactive manipulation, a step up from the large loading time and fixed viewpoint of raw images.

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