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Rapid diagnostic evaluation of traumatic brain injuries has the potential to be a game changer for any profession where concussions are a risk. Now, it appears as if the promise has become a reality in the form of a convenient blood test that yields results in as little as 15 minutes.
According to Fierce Biotech reporting, Abbott’s concussion-spotting blood test, which received FDA clearance two years ago, is now available on the Alinity i laboratory instruments. The Alinity system is installed in hospitals and labs across the US, meaning the diagnostic’s availability will vastly scale up for the millions of Americans who experience concussions every year.
The test detects signs of mild traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) in the span of about 15 minutes and works by analyzing a blood sample drawn from the arm. It looks for two biomarkers in the blood, both of which have been closely linked to TBIs when found in elevated concentrations. In studies, it was able to churn out results with 96.7% sensitivity and 99.4% negative predictive value, per Abbott.
Using the test as a first step in diagnosing concussion can help reduce the number of unnecessary CT scans performed on patients without actual brain injuries by as much as 40%. It can also cut down on the amount of time they need to spend in a hospital’s emergency department while also flagging the patients who do need further imaging to confirm a concussion.
The newly FDA-cleared diagnostic offers a high-throughput alternative to Abbott’s i-STAT TBI Plasma test, which was given the green light to spot signs of traumatic brain injuries at the start of 2021. The i-STAT Alinity platform is a smartphone-sized, hand-held device that’s able to separate out plasma from a blood sample and conduct its biomarker analysis within 15 minutes.
According to Abbott, using this blood test as a triaging step before a CT scan, following a physician’s assessment of a patient’s visual, verbal, and motor responses, is often the only test patients undergo before being sent off for a confirmatory CT scan. This could be a game-changer for people who experience concussions and are unsure of whether to visit a doctor or emergency room for a possible concussion.
The diagnostic is already available outside the US, having reeled in CE mark approval in Europe at the end of 2021. The test returns results within about 18 minutes and has been authorized to assess patients aged 18 and older within 12 hours of a suspected concussion. Abbott hopes that with the increased availability of the diagnostic test, medical centers across the US will be able to offer an objective blood test that can aid in concussion assessment.
Considering the long-term damage repeated TBIs can have on the brain, this development has the potential to save lives down the line.
WORDS: Scientific Inquirer Staff.
IMAGE CREDIT: Hush Naidoo.