Serum Metabolomics for Prognosis of Severe Traumatic Brain Injury


Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a neurological injury resulting from external mechanical force and is one of the most common causes of long-term neurological disability and death. Approximately 69 million people suffer from mild, moderate, and severe TBI annually and many live with TBI-related disabilities. Notably, severe TBI (sTBI) has a mortality of 30-50%, while 30% of sTBI survivors have severe, chronic neurologic complications. Given the variability in TBI mechanisms, patterns of brain injury, and outcomes, determining prognosis in the early days following injury can be challenging. Current methods used for the prognosis of TBI, including neuroimaging and clinical assessment, have insufficient sensitivity and specificity.

Researchers at the University of Calgary have demonstrated that serum metabolite profiles are strongly associated with the prognosis of sTBI in adults using the Extended Glasgow Outcome Scale (GOS-E) at 3 months (short-term) and 12 months (long-term) post-injury. The serum metabolite profiles were also highly predictive of mortality at 3 months post-sTBI. The researchers have shown that serum metabolomics holds promise for the prognosis of short- and long-term outcome and mortality in adults with sTBI.



  • Prognosis of short- and long-term outcome and mortality in adult sTBI.



  • Highly accurate for predicting GOS-E outcome at 3- and 12- months post-injury and mortality at 3-months post-injury.
  • Holds promise to be more reliable than current methods used for the prognosis of sTBI in adults.
  • Allows for early planning of rehabilitation and support services.
  • Enables clinicians to have informed discussions with surrogate decision makers when patients are comatose.
  • Potential to use only a minimal number of metabolites to develop predictive models.