Glasgow Coma Scale
The Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) is the most commonly used method for measuring the level of responsiveness in patients with acute brain damage. Three factors, each rated on an ordinal scale, make up the GCS total score (range = 3–15): eye opening (1 = no eye opening to 4 = spontaneous), best motor response (1 = no motor response to 6 = obeys commands), and best verbal response (1 = no verbal response to 5 = oriented).
Duration of coma has been defined as the length of time during which the patient earns GCS scores less than or equal to 8 (Hall 1997), as well as duration with GCS motor score less than 6 (TBIMS 2010). Individuals with GCS scores between 3 and 8 are classified as having a severe brain injury; scores between 9 and 12 reflect moderate brain injury, and scores between 13 and 15 are consistent with mild brain injury (more recent literature has proposed that mild injuries be restricted to GCS scores of 14–15). Those with GCS of 13–15 and positive...
References and Readings
- Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems online syllabus (2010). www.tbindsc.org.