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Stroke Finder

Sep 15 2016

Stroke physicians have a saying ... “Time is brain.”

Every minute counts when it comes to delivering life-saving therapies. The clock is ticking from the moment an ambulance arrives at your door.

In NSW alone there are 16,000 acute strokes each year, impacting men and women of all ages. It is the nation’s second biggest killer, representing a $2.9 billion burden to our society.

Due to HMRI’s globally renowned expertise in stroke care, rehabilitation and research, the Hunter has been selected as the international clinical test site for a new medical device called the Stroke Finder, developed by Medfield Diagnostics in Sweden.

It’s a new portable helmet for ambulances that delivers advanced stroke diagnostics to the frontline of emergency response, saving time, brain and lives.

The Stroke Finder’s sophisticated imaging system employs microwave technology adapted from defence applications. The patient’s head is placed directly on the device and sequentially scanned by antennas emitting low-energy microwaves.

These pulses “scatter” in brain matter, and bleeding patterns are then detected via an image-generating algorithm. There are no known side effects.


“When an ischemic stroke occurs, the faster we begin to dissolve the clot, the more brain can be salvaged. But we must be sure that it’s not a haemorrhagic stroke because the treatment paths are vastly different. In some cases, clot-busting therapy could be adminstered pre-hospital.”

- Professor Chris Levi, Stroke clinician and researcher


Just as ‘Packer Wacker’ defibrilators revolutionised cardiac care, Strokefinders can potentially be used in any ambulance with tele-stroke capability, where paramedics liaise with neurologists at hospital via audiovisual link.


The Hunter was selected because of the high quality stroke research, acute care and rehabilitation.

HMRI Director Professor Michael Nilsson and stroke research leader Professor Chris Levi have assembled a multi-disciplinary team to evaluate and refine the Stroke Finder helmet’s diagnostic algorithm.

Part 1 - Acute Care of Stroke Patients has been fully funded through the generosity of the community.
Part 2 - Long-term Brain Changes After a Stroke aims to better understand the recovery phase of the brain after a stroke and reperfusion therapy. Stroke Finder is a non-invasive and cost effective way of analysing brain changes and rehabilitation after stroke.

Part 2 requires $122,100 to complete this pilot study to improve the treatment of stroke.


Your investment will potentially transform stroke care for patients across NSW and the globe.
Please contact Libby Rodgers-McPhee on 1300 993 822 to find out how you can help.

Stroke Finder helmet