what (medical?) device(s?) was this man wearing?
July 11, 2015 8:58 AM   Subscribe

Saw a man on the subway with gauze wrapped around his head from which a bundle of wires emerged and ran to a pouch strapped to his chest. He also had a pouch strapped to the front and another to the back of his waist. What was this equipment?

He wore a baseball cap, under the margins of which peeked out a ring of gauze that ran the circumference of his head. I couldn't tell whether the gauze was a headband or a full cap. There was sort of a chin strap fashioned out of more gauze, from ear to ear. There were a bundle of wires, more than three, colored red, blue, and purple, emerging from the center back of the gauze and running down the nape of his neck. He also had small bandages taped to his mastoid bones, and from each bandage a wire ran up into the main gauze band.

The bundle of wires, wrapped in gauze, ran down to a pouch strapped over his right breast. The pouch was secured with one horizontal velcro strap around his chest under his arm, and a second velcro strap around his upper right arm. The pouch was a fist-sized rectangular prism, maybe 4x6x2".

He had another pouch at the front of his waist, with a zipper around three sides. When he opened it, I briefly saw a boxy plastic object secured inside with stretchy black fabric bands. There may have been a separate plastic cylinder inside also.

At the back of his waist was a third pouch. It had an amber logo on it and some letters. The logo was an amber circle broken into two halves by a black line that went horizontally, then up, then down past the horizontal bit, then back up to another horizontal section, like a stylized EKG trace. The lettering looked like Roman letters and I think it started with A.

All of these pouches held their own shape and were constructed of coarse black fabric trimmed at the edges with black piping. They looked like the same construction as a cordura nylon camera bag or something, but of course different sizes and shapes.

Any idea what this was? In case it's relevant, the man's behavior was a bit strange. He staggered more than would be justified by the movement of the car, at one point almost falling forward into someone's lap. From three feet away, I didn't notice any unusual smell. He had a hand-rolled cigarette tucked behind one ear.
posted by d. z. wang to Grab Bag (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
it's possible that it was a novocure device, used for the treatment of glioblastoma multiforme (stage IV brain cancer), although it sounds like there were more pouches than what i'm used to seeing for that.
posted by oh really at 9:04 AM on July 11, 2015

Maybe an ambulatory EEG?
posted by obfuscation at 9:07 AM on July 11, 2015

What obfuscation said. Sounds like an ambulatory EEG for overnight monitoring. It's to collect data continuously in order to capture events that aren't going to just happen conveniently while you're in the MD's office or clinic. Things like migraine, seizure, etc.
posted by univac at 9:37 AM on July 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

Upon rereading the question, it sounds like this person almost definitely was having neurological issues, which would support the ambulatory EEG hypothesis.
posted by univac at 9:40 AM on July 11, 2015

Yes! Cadwell's Easy Ambulatory EEG matches every particular of the setup I saw, right down to the arrangement of straps, the amber logo on the waist pouch, and the boxy plastic thing plus possibly something cylindrical. 39 minutes. AskMe is amazing.
posted by d. z. wang at 9:48 AM on July 11, 2015 [2 favorites]

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