FDA-cleared blood test for mild concussions may eliminate need for some CT exams

A new blood test that helps providers rapidly evaluate patients with concussions may obviate the need to undergo computed tomography scans for some patients.

Abbott Laboratories’ test measures proteins in patients’ blood following a traumatic brain injury, detecting positive results 95.8% of the time and accurately identifying negative results in more than 99% of cases. The handheld tool is meant to diagnose mild concussions and help doctors rule out the need to order CT exams, according to a Jan. 12 story published by the Chicago Tribune.

“If it comes out negative, then it gives clinicians and patients a sense of certainty that they can go home,” Beth McQuiston, MD, medical director of Abbott’s diagnostics arm, said to the Tribune. “You don’t have to wait for a CT. You can get them home and give them peace of mind.”

While the device will cost much less than a CT scan, according to the news outlet, those who test positive will likely still require an exam, along with patients showing more severe symptoms.

Abbott said its test will be the first of its kind available for everyday clinical use.

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