Feasibility of using diffuse reflectance spectroscopy for the quantification of brain edema

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Proceedings of SPIE-The International Society for Optical Engineering


Many diseased states of the brain can result in the displacement of brain tissues and restrict cerebral blood flow, disrupting function in a life-threatening manner. Clinical examples where displacements are observed include venous thromboses, hematomas, strokes, tumors, abscesses, and, particularly, brain edema. For the latter, the brain tissue swells, displacing the cerebral spinal fluid (CSF) layer that surrounds it, eventually pressing itself against the skull. Under such conditions, catheters are often inserted into the brain's ventricles or the subarachnoid space to monitor increased pressure. These are invasive procedures that incur increased risk of infection and consequently are used reluctantly by clinicians. Recent studies in the field of biomedical optics have suggested that the presence or absence of the CSF layer can lead to dramatic changes in NIR signals obtained from diffuse reflectance measurements around the head. In this study, we consider how this sensitivity of NIR signals of CSF might be exploited to noninvasively monitor the onset and resolution of brain edema.

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