I had a head injury and may have lost consciousness in my accident. Is there an option other than a CT scan to test my head injury?
Yes and No.
There Is A New, Simple Method That Tests Proteins.
On February 14, 2018, the FDA announced approval for a blood test that detects proteins released into the brain in the 12 hours following a mild TBI (traumatic brain injury), often referred to as a concussion or mTBI. The proteins, ubiquitin carboxy-terminal hydrolase-L1 (UCH) and glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) are released into the blood following a brain injury and can be detectable biomarkers in the test produced by Banyan Biomarkers.
Every year, nearly 3 million people visit the emergency room for TBI-related injuries. Normally, the patient is evaluated with a 15-point Glasgow Coma Scale and then, when damage is suspected, a CT scan is ordered to detect tissue damage or intracranial lesions. In this normal course, approximately 90% of CT scans show no detectable intracranial lesions—even when there is damage.
The new Banyan Biomarkers blood test that was approved by the FDA predicted absence of lesions 99.6% of the time and predicted intracranial lesions 97.5% of the time. According to the FDA, this information could rule out the need for CT scans in at least 1/3 of patients suspected of mTBI.
Of particular importance, is reducing the risk of overexposure to radiation. A CT-scan exposes a patient to radiation equivalent to 200 chest X-rays. And, for children, some studies have suggested that their risk is much greater due to their developing body as well as excessive exposure due to hospitals failing to adjust the scanners between each patient.Clearly, the reduction in radiation exposure and reduction in unnecessary testing is a double win.
The Test Has To Be Done Within 12 Hours.
Unfortunately, for our current clients, this test isn’t particularly helpful to you. Due to the limited window for detection, this option won’t work weeks or even days after your accident. So far, the test is only administered within the 12 hours following your injury. However, keep this information in mind to discuss with your doctor or emergency treatment team, if any other accidents or injuries occurs in the future.
And, for those of you with young athletes in the family, this might also be relevant information to share with your pediatrician regarding sports-related concussions. With two alpine ski racers in our family, we will most certainly be checking to see which facilities offer the new test!