Until now, craniocerebral traumas after head injuries can usually only be diagnosed with the aid of computer tomography. This could soon be a thing of the past. With a new blood test, it would be possible to find out whether there is a serious injury even before the extensive examination.

As soon as someone gets injured in the head, the consequences can range from a slight concussion to craniocerebral trauma. It can be life-threatening for the patient, especially if large amounts of blood press on the brain. Fast action is necessary, possibly an emergency operation must be carried out. Doctors usually have to decide under time pressure which treatment is the best and whether an examination with a computer tomograph (CT) is necessary.

Examination for two proteins

A new blood test could facilitate this decision. The method was developed by an international team in which Prof. Dr. Peter Biberthaler of the Department of Trauma Surgery at University Hospital right of the Isar at TUM was significantly involved, as the first author of the research. The new method involves testing the blood for two biomarkers. These are the proteins UCH-L1 and GFAP. Depending on the amount in which they occur in the blood, it can be predicted whether there is bleeding in the brain. Dr. Viktoria Bogner-Flatz from the Department of General, Trauma and Reconstructive Surgery of the Clinic of the Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich was also involved in the study and the publication.

Subscribe to our Newsletter!

Your weekly innovation overview Every sunday the best articles of the week in your inbox.

    Blood test with a reliable forecast in 99.6 percent

    To determine whether a CT examination is necessary, a series of tests are necessary. They provide values for the so-called Glasgow scale. For example, it tests whether accident victims can open their eyes independently or speak without problems. The best value that can be achieved is 15 for adults. If this is the case, clinical guidelines in several countries prescribe that patients should be examined using computer tomography.

    As part of a study, the blood test was performed on more than 1,900 patients in emergency rooms in the USA and Europe. According to the Glasgow scale, the patients were not or slightly impaired. In addition to the blood test, CTs were performed on all persons.

    Promising results

    The test result was negative for 671 study participants. The CT examination also confirmed that there were no injuries. Patients with severe injuries, that were detectable in a CT scan, also showed a positive result in the blood test. The physicians involved in the study assume that small injuries, which are also difficult to detect with CT, can thus also be detected. The blood test was positive in two-thirds of patients, but computer tomography was not.


    With the new blood test, not only costly CT scans could be avoided in the future, but also the exposure of patients to X-rays. Especially in people with mild craniocerebral trauma with Glasgow values just under 15 and if no bleeding is detectable in CT, the blood test would provide more accurate results. The physicians expect a savings potential of about one third, if the test procedure should become part of everyday clinical practice.

    Photo: Pixabay

    Read more about TUM Munich:

    Eurotech is “not only delivering our students as top engineers but also as top entrepreneurs”

    TUM Best German university in QS Ranking

    A longer life and a shorter charging time for batteries in electric cars


    Support us!

    Innovation Origins is an independent news platform that has an unconventional revenue model. We are sponsored by companies that support our mission: to spread the story of innovation. Read more.

    At Innovation Origins, you can always read our articles for free. We want to keep it that way. Have you enjoyed our articles so much that you want support our mission? Then use the button below:


    Personal Info

    About the author

    Author profile picture Christiane Manow-Le Ruyet is a writer who is always curious and always ready to learn something new. In addition to IT and architecture, she is also at home in the areas of sustainability and food. And when she doesn’t write, she draws. Preferably sketch notes. This is her second passion – as a trained interior designer perhaps no surprise.