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What Is a Normal GCS Score?

Reviewed on 6/19/2020

What Is the Glasgow Coma Scale?

Doctors use the Glasgow Coma Scale to assess a patient's level of consciousness.
Doctors use the Glasgow Coma Scale to assess a patient's level of consciousness.

The Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) is a calculated scale that determines a patient's level of consciousness. Medical professionals use it to evaluate patients with

The scale measures three categories:

  • Eye opening (E)
  • Motor response (M)
  • Verbal response (V)

The GCS score is the sum of the score in each of the three categories, with a maximum score of 15 (normal) and a minimum score of 3 (deep unconsciousness), as follows:

GCS score = E + M + V

Eye-opening scores

  • 4: Spontaneously
  • 3: To verbal command
  • 2: To pain
  • 1: No response

Best motor response scores

  • 6: Obeys command
  • 5: Localizes pain
  • 4: Flexion withdrawal
  • 3: Flexion abnormal (decorticate)
  • 2: Extension (decerebrate)
  • 1: No response

Best verbal response scores

  • 5: Oriented and converses
  • 4: Disoriented and converses
  • 3: Inappropriate words; cries
  • 2: Incomprehensible sounds
  • 1: No response

What Is a Normal GCS Score?

A normal GCS score is equal to 15, which indicates a person is fully conscious.

How Do You Interpret a GCS Score?

The GCS helps to define the severity of traumatic brain injury. In general...

  • Score 13-15: Mild head injury
  • Score 9-12: Moderate head injury
  • Score of 8 or less: Severe head injury

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Reviewed on 6/19/2020
References
Christensen, Buck. "Glasgow Coma Scale -- Adult." Dec. 4, 2018. Medscape.com. <http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/2172603-overview>.
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