Neurological Outcomes After Cardiac Arrest May Be Predicted by Serum Tau

HealthDay News — Serum tau is a promising novel biomarker for prediction of neurological outcome in patients with cardiac arrest, according to a study published in the Annals of Neurology.

Niklas Mattsson, MD, PhD, from Lund University in Sweden, and colleagues measured the neuronal protein tau in serum at 24, 48, and 72 hours after cardiac arrest in 689 patients to test serum tau as a predictor of neurological outcome.

The researchers found that increased tau was associated with poor outcome at 6 months after cardiac arrest (median 38.5 ng/L in poor vs 1.5 ng/L in good outcome, for tau at 72 hours). 

Prediction of poor outcome was improved with tau compared with using clinical information. 

Tau cutoffs had low false positive rates for good outcome and retained high sensitivity for poor outcome. For example, at 72 hours, tau had a false positive rate of 2% with a sensitivity of 66%. Tau also had higher accuracy than serum neuron-specific enolase (NSE) and was significantly associated with overall survival during follow-up.

“[Serum tau] may be significantly better than serum NSE, which is recommended in guidelines and currently used in clinical practice in several countries to predict outcome after cardiac arrest,” conclude the authors.

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Mattsson N, Zetterberg H, Nielsen N, et al. Serum tau and neurological outcome in cardiac arrest [published online October 5, 2017]. Ann Neuro. doi: 10.1002/ana.25067