Accessibility Skip to Global Navigation Skip to Local Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Site Map Menu

Screening for Traumatic Brain Injuries: can blood biomarkers predict TBI severity?

Friday 23 July 2021 10:37am

For more than a year Dr Alice Rogan has been conducting a pilot study for her PhD with the University of Otago, Wellington seeking to answer whether blood biomarkers can be used as a test to rule out severe traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) and the data is available imminently.

Alice Rogan image
Dr Alice Rogan.

Dr Rogan has had an interest in concussion prevention and management for quite some time. Working as a registrar at Te Pae Tiaki Wellington ED and as a match day doctor at Sky Stadium for Super Rugby and the like, provided plenty of exposure to assessing TBIs.

Dr Rogan first came across this method of biomarker screening in a Scandinavian study. Currently “no ED in Australasia is using biomarkers as part of routine management of TBI”. Dr Rogan is hoping to change this, and is devoting her time as an Emergency Medicine Research Fellow at the University of Otago, Wellington to apply this research to the New Zealand healthcare system.

TBI can be difficult to identify and ED doctors rely on CT head scans to rule out more severe injuries. “Requests for CT scans are increasing, however only around 10 percent of patients having these scans have more severe injuries identified” Dr Rogan said. Incorporating blood tests into the initial patient assessment has the potential to reduce patient wait times, ED workload demand and healthcare costs.

News and current affairs website Stuff has recently published an article summarising the premise of Dr Rogan’s research:

Research underway to see if traumatic brain injuries can be screened for via blood tests instead of CT

As has the Capital and Coast District Health Board, Ūpoko ki te uru hauora:

Research underway to improve diagnosis of traumatic brain injury