NASA Langley Research Center has developed an ultrasonic system to assess Compartment Syndrome, which occurs when bleeding or swelling interfere with proper blood circulation in enclosed groups of muscles and nerves. Most commonly this occurs after a substantial injury such as a broken arm or leg. Without proper treatment, myoneural necrosis occurs, leading to permanent injury and possible limb amputation. Even experienced physicians can have trouble making a reliable diagnosis of Compartment Syndrome and current testing for Compartment Syndrome requires invasive procedures.
The technology uses ultrasonic waves to categorize pressure buildup in a body compartment. The method includes assessing the body compartment configuration and identifying the effect of pulsatile components on at least one compartment dimension. A transducer is placed to impart the ultrasonic waves, capturing the reflected imparted ultrasonic waves and converting them to electrical signals. The system includes a pulsed phase-locked loop device for assessing a body compartment configuration, producing an output signal. A means is included for mathematically manipulating the output signal to categorize pressure buildup in the body compartment to the point of interference with blood flow in the compartment from the mathematical manipulations.