November 22, 2010 22:35 — 0 Comments

Protein Predicts Brain Injury in Children on ECMO Life Support

High blood levels of a protein commonly found in the central nervous system can predict brain injury and death in critically ill children on a form of life support called extra-corporeal membrane oxygenation, or ECMO. In 22 patients age 9 or younger on ECMO support, Bembea and colleagues found that those with abnormally high levels of glial fibrillary acidic protein were 13 times more likely to die and 11 times more likely to suffer brain injury than children with normal GFAP levels. Although preliminary, these findings may pave the way to a way for monitoring the neurological status of children on ECMO without using imaging tests like ultrasounds or CT scans. Periodic blood tests measuring GFAP levels may be one such tool to monitor brain function and help ward off brain injury and death.
Pediatric Critical Care Medicine (free abstract; login required for article)