Method for Early Detection of Edema and Intercranial Pressure

Tech ID: 29233 / UC Case 2011-693-0


Cerebral edema, or the build-up of fluid inside the skull and around the brain, may occur after seizures or other traumatic brain injuries.  The fluid buildup may lead to an increase in intercranial pressure (ICP), causing permanent tissue damage or even death when left untreated.  Traditionally, patients seen as high risk for edema must undergo an invasive craniectomy to preempt brain damage.

Brief Description

Researchers at UCR have developed a process that uses optical coherence tomography (OCT) on specific regions of the cranium to detect the onset of edema before severe damage can be done to the brain.  By scanning various regions of the brain with OCT, the early stages of cerebral edema may be visualized at a far earlier time point than otherwise possible.  The scattering pattern of reflected light changes in a predictable manner when brain water content increases.  This allows for a quick and accurate determination of a patient’s risk for developing dangerous ICP levels, thus eliminating the need for a invasive precautionary craniectomy.

Fig. 1: diagram of the OCT apparatus being used to measure edema in a mouse brain


Fig. 2: table demonstrating the time between OCT detection of artificially induced edema and onset of increased ICP



  • Quick, early, continuous detection of early stage edema in low to moderate risk patients which results in the reduction in long term brain damage from intercranial pressure

Patent Status

Country Type Number Dated Case
United States Of America Published Application 20140296693 10/02/2014 2011-693

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Other Information


intercranial pressure, cerebral edema, brain water content, seizure, optical coherence tomography, OCT

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