Acute brain injuries can be devastating for families and for those who suffer from them. After an injury, it can be difficult to tell the scope of the traumatic brain injury. 

The Glasgow Coma Scale is an assessment that can help physicians diagnose the severity of a TBI. 

What is the GCS? 

The GCS has been around since 1974. It is an assessment of impaired consciousness and coma. The scale can help medical professionals create treatment plans or prepare for the next course of action based on trends in the responsiveness of the patient. The Glasgow Coma Scale pays attention to three key areas: 

  • Sight 
  • Verbal response 
  • Motor skills 

Physicians will monitor and test patients to see how they respond to different stimuli. Doctors want to know how the eyes respond to different stimuli. A patient with a brain injury may have spontaneous eye movement, he or she may respond to sound or pressure. Other patients may not respond with their eyes at all. 

Verbal responses may include orientated, confused, the patient may use words or he or she will only verbalize sounds. Other patients may have no verbal response. 

For motor skills, patients receive a grade on the scale based on obeying commands, localized movements, normal flexion, abnormal flexion, extension or no movement. 

Does the GCS work? 

The Glasgow Coma Scale is easy to understand. It is a very simple way to summarize the communication of a person with an acute brain injury. It helps physicians predict the outcome of the injury based on previous cases and statistics. Over 80 countries use the GCS and research reports have marked a rise in the use of the scale.