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What does the Glasgow Coma Scale measure?

On Behalf of | Nov 21, 2022 | Car Accidents |

Traumatic brain injuries are common following a motor vehicle accident. If you have a loved one who suffered a brain injury, physicians will use the Glasgow coma scale to measure the person’s level of consciousness.

The GCS is a reliable way for staff to determine the severity of a TBI. Additionally, the scale may help them prepare a treatment plan or prepare for various outcomes. The GCS measures a person’s response to different stimuli.

Eye-opening ability

Doctors will give a patient’s eye-opening ability scores between one and four. If your loved one cannot open his or her eyes in response to stimuli, he or she receives a score of one. To receive a score of two, he or she must respond to pressure. For those who open their eyes only in response to sound, they receive a three, whereas spontaneous eye opening receives a four.

Motor responses

Motor response is an excellent determinant of the severity of a person’s TBI. The GCS scores between one and six. At a six, your loved one can obey commands. Five refers to localizing, four is normal flexion and three is abnormal flexion. Lastly, a two means extension and a one is no response.

Verbal responses

You may notice a distinct difference in how your loved one can communicate with you following a TBI. Patients who are orientated receive a score of five, whereas confused patients may receive a four. As the score decreases, so does the patient’s ability to be coherent. At a level three, your loved one may say words but not coherently and at a level two, he or she makes sounds but cannot form words. At a level one, the patient has no verbal response.

When it comes to the GCS, the more severe the injury, the lower the score.


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