Research brief: Blood test tells stroke type

A blood test could be used rapidly to distinguish haemorrhagic and ischaemic stroke, say German researchers.

They measured serum levels of glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) in 135 stroke patients within six hours of symptoms. Serum GFAP was raised significantly in ischaemic patients and a cut-off of 2.9ng/l provided a sensitivity of 0.79 and a specificity of 0.98 for this kind of stroke.

The researchers said that after further development the test could improve emergency care of stroke victims (J Neurol Neurosurg Psych 2006; 77: 181-4).

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