Rapid concussion blood test gets FDA approval, could be used on sidelines in future

A blood test designed to aid in the rapid diagnosis of concussions has gained FDA approval.

The i-STAT Alinity test can detect two proteins released into the blood when someone suffers a concussion and, per statistics from its developer Abbott, has a 95.6 percent rate of ruling out concussions if the test is conducted within 24 hours of the injury. The test is faster than the existing i-STAT TBI test, which requires blood serum and the use of a centrifuge to process results.

Dr. David Okonkwo, a University of Pittsburgh professor and the Steelers’ team neurologist, helped lead the development team of the test and said it could be used during NFL games and other sporting events after further research.

“The nature of the studies performed to gain FDA clearance for these tests were done in patients brought to level one trauma centers,” Dr. Okonkwo said, via Abby Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “We have every reason to believe there is significant overlap with the injuries to athletes who sustain a concussion, but we need to do studies specifically in that patient population to confirm that use.”

Abbott expects the test to be available in emergency rooms and urgent care centers this summer.

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