Scientists develop blood test to rapidly diagnose stroke

When someone suffers from a stroke time is of the essence. A fast diagnosis and treatment can mean the difference between life and death and can also determine the level of subsequent recovery.

For this reason, scientists are working on a new blood test that one day could rapidly confirm whether someone is having a stroke and what kind. They have built a device that can process whole blood and isolate genetic material for two potential stroke biomarkers within minutes. Keeping in mind that identifying more biomarkers could aid in diagnosis, they designed their device so it can analyse a total of four biomarkers at the same time.

Strokes have two possible causes. In ischemic strokes, a clot stops blood flow in a part of the brain and with haemorrhagic stroke, a blood vessel in the brain ruptures.

Both can lead to similar symptoms, such as numbness on one side of the body, sudden weakness and headache. Current diagnostic tests can't distinguish between these two types of stroke but the correct treatment depends on the kind of stroke a person is having.

Researchers in the USA have now identified biomarkers in the blood that can indicate the type of stroke that is occurring and that could assist in determining the best treatment option.

The report of the study appears in the American Chemical Society journal Analytical Chemistry.

A substance that can be measured to help healthcare professionals to assess normal processes, disease processes or a person's response to treatment. Full medical glossary
A fluid that transports oxygen and other substances through the body, made up of blood cells suspended in a liquid. Full medical glossary
Blood that has coagulated, that is, has moved from a liquid to a solid state. Full medical glossary
The process of determining which condition a patient may have. Full medical glossary
The basic unit of genetic material carried on chromosomes. Full medical glossary
Relating to the genes, the basic units of genetic material. Full medical glossary
septic arthritis Full medical glossary
Any sudden neurological problem caused by a bleed or a clot in a blood vessel. Full medical glossary