12:00 AM, July 29, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, July 29, 2018

Health bulletin

Blood test might help reduce unnecessary CT scans

A high sensitivity blood test might help doctors rule out traumatic intracranial injuries like brain haemorrhage and contusion before resorting to CT scanning, according to a large, multicentre observational trial published in The Lancet Neurology journal.

The novel blood test was administered within 12 hours of a suspected traumatic brain injury (TBI), and measured levels of two biomarker proteins which are released into the bloodstream following a brain injury.

Current practice for mild TBI involves a series of checklists of symptoms and signs—known as clinical decision rules—that a treating physician will look for to decide whether a CT scan is necessary. One of the most important clinical guides for determining the need for a CT scan is the patient’s initial level of alertness—measured using the Glasgow Coma Scale score (GCS)—with some guidelines recommending a head CT for anyone with a less than perfect GCS score of 15.