Use of serum biomarkers to predict cerebral hypoxia after severe traumatic brain injury

Deborah M. Stein, Allison L. Lindell, Karen R. Murdock, Joseph A. Kufera, Jay Menaker, Grant V. Bochicchio, Bizhan Aarabi, Thomas M. Scalea

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


The management of severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) focuses on prevention and treatment of secondary insults such as cerebral hypoxia (CH). There are a number of biomarkers that are thought to play a part in secondary injury following severe TBI. This study evaluates the association between S100β, neuron-specific enolase (NSE), and glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), detected in the serum of severe TBI patients and CH as measured by brain tissue oxygen partial pressure (Pbo 2). Patients with severe TBI were prospectively enrolled. Pressure times time (PTD; mm Hg*h), measuring the depth and duration of CH, was calculated for 12-h periods for episodes of moderate (Pbo 2 < 20mm Hg) and severe (Pbo 2 < 15mm Hg) CH, and compared to serum levels of S100β, NSE, and GFAP drawn prior to periods of monitoring. An adjusted mixed model analysis was applied as was receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curve analysis. Of 76 patients enrolled, 24 had Pbo 2 monitoring. One hundred and thirty serum samples were matched with 12-h periods of monitoring. Significant associations were found in adjusted analyses between increasing serum levels of S100β (coefficient=0.57, 0.56; p<0.001), NSE (coefficient=0.48, 0.52; p<0.001), and GFAP (coefficient=0.29, 0.30; p=0.003 and 0.002), and increasing PTD of moderate (Pbo 2<20mm Hg) and severe (Pbo 2<15mm Hg) CH. AUCs for the prediction of moderate and severe CH were 0.62 and 0.66 for S100β, 0.55 and 0.71 for NSE, and 0.50 and 0.62 for GFAP, respectively. Specificities were between 76% and 90% for S100β and NSE. S100β, NSE, and GFAP demonstrate promise as candidate serum markers of impending CH. The fact that these biomarker elevations occur prior to the onset of clinical manifestations suggests that we may be able to predict imminent events following TBI. Given the morbidity of CH, early intervention and prevention may have a significant impact on outcomes and help guide decisions about the timing of interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1140-1149
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of neurotrauma
Issue number6
StatePublished - Apr 10 2012


  • biomarkers
  • clinical management of CNS injury
  • traumatic brain injury


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