Traumatic brain injury is usually assessed with the Glasgow coma scale (GCS), CT, or MRI. After such injury, the injured brain tissue is characterised by calcium mediated neuronal damage and inflammation. Positron emission tomography with the isotope cobalt-55 (Co-PET) as a calcium tracer enables imaging of affected tissue in traumatic brain injury. The aim was to determine whether additional information can be gained by Co-PET in the diagnosis of moderate traumatic brain injury and to assess any prognostic value of Co-PET. Five patients with recent moderately severe traumatic brain injury were studied. CT was performed on the day of admission, EEG within one week, and MRI and Co-PET within four weeks of injury. Clinical assessment included neurological examination, GCS, neuropsychological testing, and Glasgow outcome scale (GOS) after one year. Co-PET showed focal uptake that extended beyond the morphological abnormalities shown by MRI and CT, in brain regions that were actually diagnosed with EEG. Thus Co-PET is potentially useful for diagnostic localisation of both structural and functional abnormalities in moderate traumatic brain injury.
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