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J Neurotrauma. 2012 Apr 10;29(6):1047-53. doi: 10.1089/neu.2011.1890. Epub 2012 Jan 26.

The utility of near infrared spectroscopy in detecting intracranial hemorrhage in children.

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  • 1Department of Critical Care Medicine, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of the UPMC, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15224, USA.


A prospective case-control study was conducted in a tertiary care pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) to evaluate the use of near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) for the detection of intracranial hemorrhage (ICH) in children. Subjects 0-14 years of age who had a computed tomography (CT) scan of the head performed as part of clinical care were eligible for enrollment. The children were stratified into two groups based on whether the CT was normal or abnormal. Children in the abnormal imaging cohort were further divided into those with ICH and those with other abnormalities of the brain parenchyma (contusions, diffuse axonal injury [DAI], or cerebral edema) or fractures. NIRS measurements were performed on all subjects within 24 h of head CT. The NIRS operator was blinded to the presence or absence of ICH. NIRS measurements were performed in eight different scalp locations (four bilaterally). A total of 103 measurements were made. The optical density (OD) was automatically calculated by comparing the reflected and diffused optical signal. A ΔOD>0.2 between hemispheres in any scalp location was considered abnormal. NIRS was performed in a total of 28 subjects: 7 had normal imaging and 21 had abnormal imaging. Of those with abnormal imaging, 12 had ICH. The sensitivity and specificity of NIRS at detecting ICH was 1.0 and 0.8, respectively. The positive and negative predictive values were 0.8 and 1.0, respectively. In conclusion, NIRS correctly identified all cases of ICH in this pilot study. Our preliminary results suggest that NIRS may be beneficial in the evaluation of a child with possible ICH.

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