Each year, roughly five million Americans are examined in the emergency room for suspected mild traumatic brain injuries. According to a recent Medscape article, a new rapid blood test could cut down on wait times and reduce unnecessary CT scans by up to 40%. The device is the i-STAT Alinity TBI plasma test manufactured by Abbott Laboratories, and it was developed in collaboration with the US Department of Defense. The handheld device is the first rapid blood test for concussions to receive FDA approval.
The test consists of a small blood sample drawn from the arm that is placed in a centrifuge to separate the plasma. The plasma is then applied to the test’s cartridge and placed into the handheld device. The iSTAT Alinity plasma test measures glial fibrillary acidic protein and ubiquitin carboxyl-terminal hydrolase L1; high concentrations of these two biomarkers are correlated with brain injury. Results are ready in just 15 minutes.