Hydrocephalus patients have an excess of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain, which needs to be drained away through a ventricular shunt. However, these shunts regularly fail, with potentially life-threatening results. At present, there isn’t an easy way to check that a shunt is still working, and clinicians typically use brain MRI/CT scans to see if a shunt is still draining correctly.
Not only are these imaging procedures inconvenient and expensive, but in the case of CT they may expose a hydrocephalus patient to significant amounts of radiation if regular assessments are required. To address this, Rhaeos, a company based in Illinois, is trying to bring to market its FlowSense device, a wearable non-invasive patch that looks like a bandage and which can provide data on flow through a shunt.