High-Sensitivity C-Reactive Protein: Retrospective Study of Potential Blood Biomarker of Inflammation in Acute Mild Traumatic Brain Injury

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The Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation


OBJECTIVE: A panel of biomarkers is needed to definitively diagnose mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). There is a clear role for the inclusion of an inflammatory biomarker. This study looked to find a relationship between high sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP), an inflammatory biomarker, and mTBI. SETTING: Neurology department of high-volume tertiary orthopedic hospital. PARTICIPANTS: Individuals diagnosed with mTBI (n = 311, age 21 +/- 12 years, 53% female). DESIGN: Retrospective cohort study. MAIN MEASURES: hsCRP levels; postconcussive symptoms; demographics. RESULTS: Continuous hsCRP levels were transformed into quartiles, as defined by less than 0.200 mg/L for quartile 1 (Q1); 0.200 to 0.415 mg/L for quartile 2 (Q2); 0.415 to 1.100 mg/L for quartile 3 (Q3); and greater than 1.100 mg/L for quartile 4 (Q4). Mean hsCRP was elevated in the cohort of individuals who presented within 1 week of injury and was found to significantly decrease between the first visit and 4 weeks postinjury (P = .016). Initial hsCRP level was positively correlated with age (r = 0.163, P = .004), and age significantly increased between quartiles (P = .013). Patients with increased age (odds ratio: 3.48) and those who endorsed headache (odds ratio: 3.48) or fatigue (odds ratio: 2.16) were significantly associated with increased risk of having an hsCRP level in Q4. CONCLUSION: hsCRP may be a viable addition to acute and longitudinal biomarker panels for diagnosis and prognosis of mTBI.

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