Glasgow Coma Scale what does it mean?

There are a few different systems that doctors use to diagnose the symptoms of Traumatic Brain Injury.


Glascow Scale

The Glasgow Coma Scale is based on a 15 point scale for estimating and categorizing the outcomes of brain injury on the basis of overall social capability or dependence on others.

The test measures the motor response, verbal response and eye response with these values:

Motor Response

6 – Obeys commands fully
5 – Localizes to noxious stimuli
4 – Withdraws from noxious stimuli
3 – Abnormal flexion
2 – Extensor response
1 – No response

II. Verbal Response

5 – Alert and Oriented
4 – Confused, yet coherent, speech
3 – Inappropriate words and jumbled phrases consisting of words
2 – Incomprehensible sounds
1 – No sounds

III. Eye Opening

4 – Spontaneous eye opening
3 – Eyes open to speech
2 – Eyes open to pain
1 – No eye opening

The final score is determined by adding the values of I+II+III.  This number helps doctors categorize the four possible levels for survival, with a lower number indicating a more severe injury and a poorer prognosis:

Mild (13-15)

Mild brain injuries can result in temporary or permanent symptoms

Moderate Disability (9-12)
Loss of consciousness greater than 30 minutes
Physical or cognitive impairments which may or may resolve

Severe Disability (3-8):
Coma: unconscious state. No meaningful response, no voluntary activities

Vegetative State (Less Than 3):
 Sleep wake cycles
 Arousal, but no interaction with environment
 No localized response to pain
Persistent Vegetative State:
 Vegetative state lasting longer than one month


The advice and information contained in this article are for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace a physician’s advice. Please always consult your physician for your medical needs.

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