Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is an alteration in brain function caused by an external force. TBI of so-called mild severity (mTBI) represents 70-90% of cases and is a frequent cause of emergency department visits. Head computed tomography (CT) scanning is considered today as a reference method to detect potential acute post-traumatic complications. There are biomarker tests that measure brain-specific proteins in human blood after an injury that may help to rule out intracranial lesions (ICLs) and thereby potentially reduce the need for CT scanning in patients with mTBI.
Substantial resources are often used in assessing and treating patients with mTBI. Being able to determine the absence of lesions via biomarker tests without compromising patients’ safety could be both economically and practically advantageous and could limit unnecessary exposure to radiation.
Comparison of Screening Approaches
Scientists from RTI Health Solutions and bioMérieux, a world leader in in-vitro diagnostics, conducted research to determine the clinical and economic impact of using such tests in the French healthcare setting by creating a decision model – likely the first study to compare screening approaches using CT scanning and biomarker tests GFAP+UCH-L1 or S100B all in one analysis. The research contributes to growing evidence that the biomarker tests may be helpful in determining whether a CT scan is needed.
This study suggests that a GFAP+UCH-L1 test might decrease the need for head CT scans and associated costs without negatively impacting outcomes. Such a decrease in CTs is more pronounced when using GFAP+UCH-L1 in comparison to S100B in the current model. In addition to cost savings, using biomarker testing could free up resources for other emergent imaging needs.
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