Tampa General Hospital is the first U.S. emergency department to offer rapid blood testing for concussions and traumatic brain injury to patients



The Abbott TBI Plasma test operates on a portable instrument that allows doctors to quickly assess people 18 years of age and older with mild traumatic brain injury, including concussions.

TAMPA, Florida., November 1, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Physicians from Tampa General Hospital The emergency departments are the first in the nation, outside of a clinical trial setting, to use an FDA-cleared rapid blood test to successfully assess patients 18 and older with mild traumatic brain injury ( TBI), including concussions. Results are available in approximately 15 minutes.

Tampa General Hospital is the first US emergency department to offer patients a rapid blood test for concussions and traumatic brain injury. The Abbott TBI Plasma test operates on a portable instrument that allows doctors to quickly assess people 18 years of age and older with mild traumatic brain injury, including concussions.

To perform a test, a plasma sample is inserted into the handheld device, and then the test can quickly provide important information that can help providers determine care and treatment plans. This streamlined process can potentially preclude the need for a CT scan.

A rapid blood test to assess concussions has the potential to be a game-changer,” said Dr. Jason Wilson, associate professor, Department of Internal Medicine, USF Health Morsani College of Medicine and director of the Emergency Department Clinical Decision Unit, Tampa General. “It provides definitive data as we work to confirm concussion or traumatic brain injury.”

Neurological and cognitive examinations have been the primary method of diagnosing concussion. Typically, CT scans are used to identify a more serious injury, such as bleeding in the brain. The i-STAT TBI Plasma test, developed by Abbott, a Chicagoa New York-based healthcare company uses plasma from a patient’s blood sample to look for markers associated with brain injury to rule out the need for a CT scan.

The test has the potential to improve emergency department efficiency, reduce wait times and improve the overall quality of patient care.

“Patients can spend less time in the emergency department and will walk away with lab results that can help their doctors make treatment decisions for a full and successful recovery,” Wilson said.

Recently published research also demonstrated that the proteins measured by this test can help clinicians predict the recovery of someone from a more serious injury.

Here’s how the test works:

  • This test measures specific proteins found in the blood after traumatic brain injury, including concussion.

  • A “not elevated” result can be used to rule out the need for a CT scan.

  • For those whose test shows elevated levels, the next step is often a CT scan, and clinicians could use both results to assess whether someone has TBI.

  • The test can free up emergency department resources, reduce costs and improve a hospital’s value-driven care. For patients, this can reduce radiation exposure from unnecessary CT scans for some, as well as emergency room wait times.

“Tampa General is the first emergency department to use this testing method and make it available to patients,” said Michele Moran, senior director of nursing at the Tampa General Emergency Department. “This test gives us another tool to properly assess potential TBI patients. During the risk assessment and physical examination of the patient, we will determine who may benefit most from the blood test versus the CT scan.”

More than 4.8 million[1] in the United States, people go to emergency rooms every year to be evaluated for brain injuries – the vast majority from everyday accidents, including falls and motor vehicle collisions. The true number of concussions is likely much higher, with around half of concussions going unreported.

“Immediate diagnosis of symptoms is important, especially for college students who must return to class,” said Dr. Dusty Narducciassistant professor in the Department of Family and Sports Medicine at USF Health Morsani College of Medicine, sports physician and primary care provider at USF Health Concussion Center, and family and sports medicine physician at Tampa General.

Symptoms of a concussion can appear immediately or a few hours after the impact or accident, so it is important that the person is monitored for any immediate or gradual changes, experts say. Some people lose consciousness, others don’t. Specifically, a concussion occurs when the brain moves against the inside of the skull, causing bruising. The amount of brain damage determines the severity of the concussion. Prompt diagnosis of a concussion is essential, because if the patient does not follow the protocol, it can lead to problems. Tampa General officials are advising anyone potentially injured to see their health care provider and, if symptoms are severe, to go to a hospital emergency room.

Symptoms of an injury can include:


Tampa General Hospital, a 1,040-bed nonprofit academic medical center, is one of America’s largest hospitals and provides world-class care as the region’s only trauma center. level I and comprehensive burn care. Tampa General Hospital is the highest ranked hospital in the market in US News and World Reports 2022-23 Best Hospitals, and is tied as the third highest ranked hospital in Floridawith seven specialties ranked among the best programs of United States. Tampa General Hospital has been named a Model of Excellence by the List of Top 100 Fortune/Merative Hospitals 2022. The University Medical Center’s commitment to growing and developing its team members is recognized by two prestigious Forbes magazine rankings – the first nationally in 2022 America’s Best Employers for Women and sixth on Florida’s 100 Companies in 2022 America’s Top Employers by State. Tampa General is the safety net hospital for the region, caring for everyone regardless of ability to pay, and in fiscal year 2021 provided net community benefit worth more than $224.5 million in the form of health care for underinsured patients, community education and financial support to community health organizations in Tampa Bay. It is one of the nation’s busiest adult solid organ transplant centers and the primary teaching hospital for USF Health Morsani College of Medicine. With six medical helicopters, Tampa General Hospital transports seriously injured or ill patients from 23 surrounding counties to receive the advanced care they need. Tampa General is home to a nationally accredited comprehensive stroke center, and its 32-bed neuroscience and critical care unit is the largest on the west coast of Florida. It also houses the 82-bed Jennifer Leigh Muma Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and a nationally accredited rehabilitation center. Tampa General Hospital’s footprint includes 17 Tampa General Medical Group primary care offices, TGH Family Care Center Kennedy, TGH Brandon Healthplex, TGH Virtual Health and 21 Tower-powered TGH imaging outpatient radiology centers across Hillsborough, Not co, pinelles and palm beach counties. Tampa Bay area residents also receive world-class care from the TGH Urgent Care powered by Fast Track network of clinics, and they can even receive home visits in certain regions thanks to TGH Urgent Care at Home, powered by Fast Track. As one of the nation’s largest hospitals, Tampa General Hospital is the premier Florida to partner with GE Healthcare and open a clinical command center that provides real-time situational awareness to improve and better coordinate patient care at lower cost. For more information, visit www.tgh.org.


Korley, FK et al. J Rehabilitation in cranial traumatology. 2016; 31(6): 379–387.

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Tampa General Hospital logo.  (PRNewsFoto/Tampa General Hospital)

Tampa General Hospital logo. (PRNewsFoto/Tampa General Hospital)



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