When a patient suffers a concussion, they can experience a range of debilitating symptoms, including headaches, confusion, problems with coordination or balance, and mood changes.
But concussion patients could also experience intracranial bleeding, which can have even more dire consequences, including death. Fortunately, a new blood test can help doctors identify those at risk for brain bleeding.
Why this Test is Important
Currently, elderly patients who are suffering from intracranial bleeding (bleeding in the skull) are hard to diagnose. They might already have cognitive decline, which can mask the fact that they are bleeding in the skull. The current diagnostic method, a CT scan, is expensive and can expose a patient to radiation, which has negative health effects.
As reported by Yahoo Finance, the Food and Drug Administration has approved a blood test that helps identify which patients have suffered damage to brain tissue. The test measures certain proteins in the blood.
In a study, the test was 100% accurate at identifying those who did not have brain tissue damage. It was not accurate at identifying those with intracranial bleeding. In other words, the test is an excellent tool of exclusion. If the test comes back negative, the patient will not need to undergo a CT scan. However, doctors can still order scans for those who get a positive result and might be bleeding.
Helping the Elderly
As noted by Yahoo, the elderly have the highest rate of concussion injuries among all age groups. The reasons are probably not hard to understand. The elderly have poorer movement and balance than other age groups and can fall more easily. They also tend to have worse eyesight and might not see hazards (like a puddle of water) that younger people could see and avoid. Falls are a leading cause of concussions and brain injuries more generally, so the elderly suffer relatively high rates of brain injury.
With this new test, fewer elderly will need to undergo expensive and potentially dangerous CT scans. It is highly likely that this test will be put into use more generally, including for younger people. Brain injuries often require quick intervention to improve patient outcomes, and tests like these could prove crucial at improving the speed with which patients receive appropriate medical care.
Concussion Lawyers in Miami