Background: Several biomarkers show diagnostic value for traumatic brain injury (TBI), especially in patients with severe TBI. In the present study, we examined whether glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), phosphorylated neurofilament heavy subunit (pNF-H), heart-type fatty acid binding protein (H-FABP), neuron-specific enolase (NSE), and S100B protein (S100B) measured on admission to an emergency department showed diagnostic value in patients with mild-to-moderate TBI.
Methods: A prospective study performed in our emergency department. After collecting informed consent, blood samples were obtained to measure GFAP, pNF-H, H-FABP, NSE, and S100B concentrations. All of the patients underwent head computed tomography (CT). The CT findings were considered positive if hemorrhagic brain injury was present. Receiver-operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis was performed for each biomarker with positive head CT findings as the outcome variable.
Results: Fifty-seven patients were included (39% male). Their median age was 70 years and the median Glasgow coma scale score was 15. Twelve patients (21%) had positive head CT findings (CT-positive group). The area under the ROC curves for GFAP, pNF-H, H-FABP, NSE, and S100B were 0.845, 0.569, 0.518, 0.744, and 0.753, respectively, and were statistically significant for GFAP, NSE, and S100B (p<0.001, p=0.013, and p=0.010, respectively). The area under the ROC curve was greater for GFAP than those for the other biomarkers.
Conclusions: Our results suggest that serum GFAP measured shortly after emergency department admission shows greater diagnostic potential for head CT-positive TBI as compared with pNF-H, H-FABP, NSE, and S100B.