Each year, 2.5 million people go to the emergency room because they believe they have a head injury, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Many of these injured people will undergo a CT scan. In over 90 percent of the scans, no injury is shown at a cost of about $1,200 each.
A new medical device approved last year by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) can, with 87 percent accuracy, determine if a person who has suffered a head injury likely has bleeding in the brain. The handheld EEG device, which was featured in a clinical trial described in Academic Emergency Medicine, measures the amount of electrical activity in the brain. An algorithm is then used to determine if brain bleeding is likely in the patient. So far, the clinical trial has only studied the device's use in adults. It is not known how it would work with teenagers or children.