Blood test for head injury victims comes with limitations

West Virginia residents who have suffered a head injury may want to know about a blood test that has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration and that helps determine whether they need a CT scan. CT scans expose patients to a high level of radiation and should be avoided when possible, so the test comes with definite benefits. However, there are some limitations.

The test measures protein levels in the blood in order to predict which patients have brain lesions. These lesions can then be analyzed via CT scan. The blood test cannot detect a concussion. Many reports have said that it does, and this can be potentially misleading, as patients who get a negative test result may mistakenly believe that they have no concussion.

A major limitation is that one must wait three to four hours for the blood test results. Three to four hours can make all the difference between life and death, and it would take less time to get a CT scan. Also, among the proteins that are released after a head injury, some appear soon after the injury while others appears hours after. The test will therefore miss many of the proteins. Lastly, ER doctors already have clinical rules in place where they can determine who needs a CT scan based on physical symptoms like headaches and seizures.

Although usually associated with football and other contact sports, head injuries can often be caused by motor vehicle accidents or slips and falls. If it can be determined that the injury was the result of another party's negligence, an attorney could assist a victim in obtaining appropriate compensation for medical expenses and other losses.

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