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Coma (cont.)

The Glasgow Coma Scale

The Glasgow Coma Scale was developed to provide health-caregivers a simple way of measuring the depth of coma based upon observations of eye opening, speech, and movement. Patients in the deepest level of coma:

  • do not respond with any body movement to pain,
  • do not have any speech, and
  • do not open their eyes.

Those in lighter comas may offer some response, to the point they may even seem wake, yet meet the criteria of coma because they do not respond to their environment.

Glasgow Coma Scale
Eye Opening  
Spontaneous 4
To loud voice 3
To pain 2
None 1
 
Verbal Response  
Oriented 5
Confused, Disoriented 4
Inappropriate words 3
Incomprehensible words 2
None 1
 
Motor Response  
Obeys commands 6
Localizes pain 5
Withdraws from pain 4
Abnormal flexion posturing 3
Extensor posturing 2
None 1

The scale is used as part of the initial evaluation of a patient, but does not assist in making the diagnosis as to the cause of coma. Since it "scores" the level of coma, the GCS can be used as a standard method for any health-caregiver to assess change in patient status.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/19/2014
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