If you suffer a traumatic brain injury (TBI), you could recover quickly, or it could leave you with a lifelong disability or even kill you. That’s a wide range of possibilities, so you and your family would obviously like to find out which it will be as soon as possible.
Help may be on the way thanks to a combined study by three U.S. universities. Researchers developed a blood test, which, if conducted within 24 hours of the injury, could predict the likely outcome in minutes.
How does it work?
Medics take a blood sample and test it for two protein biomarkers: GFAP and UCH-L1. If the results show high amounts of these, then doctors know the risk of death or severe long-term effects is high.
What use is knowing this?
The sooner medical staff understand what they are dealing with, the more chance they have of intervening in a way that could reduce the consequences. The same applies to many injuries and illnesses.
It can also help staff prioritize when faced with multiple patients. For example, if you were injured in a multi-vehicle pileup.
What if the results predict the worst?
This, too, can be useful. Doctors and family members often have to make difficult choices about whether or not to try and keep someone alive in the hope they recover. Accurate information can help them make that call and avoid the heartbreak that comes from misplaced hopes.
Predicting the likely outcome is also beneficial when seeking injury compensation. If you claim and your TBI fails to heal as you hoped, you could be left short if your compensation settlement did not account for that.