With this new breakthrough, it can now take less than 15 minutes to detect a traumatic brain injury (TBI). A new device made by American medical device company Abbott can detect a TBI simply by taking a blood and plasma sample from a person’s arm. It marks the first time that a blood test can assess brain health in this capacity. This significance of this discovery has the ability to change the TBI diagnostic process forever.
Currently there are bottlenecks in diagnosing traumatic brain injuries and concussions. Not everyone requires the same diagnostic tools, and it can be difficult to get an accurate diagnosis because the tests are imperfect. Examining someone who has likely suffered a TBI often includes three things: physical examinations, patient interviews, and CT scans & MRIs.
Physical examinations aren’t always conclusive because of the nature of brain injuries. They’re known as the invisible wounds of war for a reason; oftentimes they’re hard to see. The same goes for patient interviews. It’s hard to quantify symptoms and experiences when experiencing a wound like a TBI, and the interviews can take time on top of being inconclusive.
The final component is one that not everyone needs. Ordering a CT scan or MRI is secondary but important for more severe cases of TBI. These tests help identify the specifics of each TBI, and this step is very important for those cases. No two TBIs are the same, so it’s crucial for doctors to know which part of the brain was injured so they can accurately develop a treatment plan. However, people suffering less severe concussions don’t necessarily require one. It’s wasteful for these patients to wait hours to get one and take on the sky-high medical costs that are often associated with these tests.
By relying on this new blood test, doctors will be able to determine who requires further testing such as a CT scan or an MRI, or who can be fast-tracked to treatment. It also can reduce health costs for many. Most importantly, it can reach beyond the emergency room. The test could be used at sporting events where brain injuries and concussions are frequent occurrences, or even at the scene of an injury for service members. The faster we can accurately diagnose TBIs, the faster we can address these injuries and get our heroes the treatments they require, like those treated at our Intrepid Spirit Centers.
Posted on January 29 2021 in Blog