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Expert warns new blood test can miss concussions

Oklahoma readers may have heard about a new FDA-approved blood test that can supposedly detect concussions. However, a concussion expert from the University at Buffalo says the test isn’t that straightforward.

According to the expert, who is the medical director of the University at Buffalo Concussion Management Clinic, the blood test does not actually tell doctors whether or not a patient has a concussion. Instead, the test measures protein levels in the blood to determine whether the patient has a potential brain bleed and is in need of a diagnostic CT scan. Therefore, it is possible for patients with a less serious brain injury, such as a concussion, to receive a negative test result.

The expert says that the test is useful for determining who needs a CT scan, but the test results can take three to four hours to come back. If a patient does have a brain bleed, waiting for the test results could lead to serious complications, including death. He recommends that doctors continue to use standard clinical rules to determine who should undergo a CT scan. These rules include observing patients for symptoms like lethargy, seizures, vomiting and worsening headache.

A concussion victim could face a lifetime of serious health issues, including memory problems, depression, personality changes and dementia. If a traumatic brain injury was caused by the negligent actions of another party, it might be advisable to file a personal injury lawsuit against that individual or entity for damages. For example, if someone suffered a head injury in a car accident, the at-fault driver could be sued for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and other damages related to the crash. An attorney might review a victim’s case and explain all legal options available.

Source: Claims Journal, “Researchers Say New Blood Test Detects TBIs, Not Concussions,” Feb. 27, 2018