An intracranial haemorrhage is a life threatening medical emergency, yet only a fraction of the patients receive treatment in time, primarily due to the transport delay in accessing diagnostic equipment in hospitals such as Magnetic Resonance Imaging or Computed Tomography. A mono-static microwave head imaging system that can be carried in an ambulance for the detection and localization of intracranial haemorrhage is presented. The system employs a single ultra-wideband antenna as sensing element to transmit signals in low microwave frequencies towards the head and capture backscattered signals. The compact and low-profile antenna provides stable directional radiation patterns over the operating bandwidth in both near and far-fields. Numerical analysis of the head imaging system with a realistic head model in various situations is performed to realize the scattering mechanism of haemorrhage. A modified delay-and-summation back-projection algorithm, which includes effects of surface waves and a distance-dependent effective permittivity model, is proposed for signal and image post-processing. The efficacy of the automated head imaging system is evaluated using a 3D-printed human head phantom with frequency dispersive dielectric properties including emulated haemorrhages with different sizes located at different depths. Scattered signals are acquired with a compact transceiver in a mono-static circular scanning profile. The reconstructed images demonstrate that the system is capable of detecting haemorrhages as small as 1 cm3. While quantitative analyses reveal that the quality of images gradually degrades with the increase of the haemorrhage's depth due to the reduction of signal penetration inside the head; rigorous statistical analysis suggests that substantial improvement in image quality can be obtained by increasing the data samples collected around the head. The proposed head imaging prototype along with the processing algorithm demonstrates its feasibility for potential use in ambulances as an effective and low cost diagnostic tool to assure timely triaging of intracranial hemorrhage patients.
Mobashsher, A. T., Bialkowski, K. S., Abbosh, A. M., & Crozier, S. (2016). Design and experimental evaluation of a non-invasive microwave head imaging system for intracranial haemorrhage detection. PLoS ONE, 11(4). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0152351