Clin Exp Emerg Med.  2017 Sep;4(3):121-127. 10.15441/ceem.17.226.

Review of the potential use of blood neuro-biomarkers in the diagnosis of mild traumatic brain injury

  • 1Department of Emergency Medicine, Bradford Royal Infirmary, Bradford, UK.
  • 2Global Medical Affairs, Abbott Point of Care, Princeton, NJ, USA.


Head injury is a common presenting complaint amongst emergency department patients. To date, there has been no widespread utilization of neuro-biomarkers to aid the diagnosis of traumatic brain injury. This review article explores which neuro-biomarkers could be used in the emergency department in aiding the clinical diagnosis of mild traumatic brain injury. Based on the available evidence, the most promising neuro-biomarkers appear to be Glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) and Ubiquitin C-Terminal Hydrolase Isozyme L1 (UCH-L1) as these show significant rises in peripheral blood levels shortly after injury and these have been demonstrated to correlate with long-term clinical outcomes. Treatment strategies for minor traumatic brain injury in the emergency department setting are not well developed. The introduction of blood neuro-biomarkers could reduce unnecessary radiation exposure and provide an opportunity to improve the care of this patient group.


Brain concussion; Biomarkers; Craniocerebral trauma
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