In a world first, a newly authorized handheld device will allow doctors to detect traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) in under 15 minutes, potentially saving lives by dramatically shortening the time it takes to properly diagnose the issue.
TBI is a major cause of death and disability in the U.S. There were 2.87 million TBI-related emergency department visits, hospitalizations and deaths in 2014, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Athletes and older people are the most at-risk of TBIs. Unfortunately, many patients with mild TBI struggle to get an accurate and timely diagnosis, even as they grapple with ongoing symptoms. This ultimately results in delayed treatment.
The device is made by Abbott, a medical device company based in the United States. Abbott’s new blood test may serve as an objective tool to help doctors triage TBI patients, because it relies on molecular signatures in the blood rather than on murkier clues, such as patient interviews. The test requires a small blood sample drawn from the arm, from which plasma is extracted and inserted into the handheld instrument.