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What does the Glasgow Coma Scale mean?

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Posted on April 30, 2022

Car accidents are common sources of head injuries. If you or your loved one suffered a head injury, medical professionals use the Glasgow Coma Scale to describe the extent of consciousness.

According to the National Library of Medicine, physicians examine three aspects, including verbal response, motor function, and eye-opening.

Verbal responses

Since TBIs can impact how you think and speak, your verbal responses are essential to medical providers. Patients who cannot talk receive a score of one and those who can make incomprehensible sounds or inappropriate words receive a two and three. Those who react with confused responses have a level four and orientated people are a level five.

Motor function responses

A brain injury can severely limit your ability to respond with your body. You may have no motor response to the outside environment. In those cases, the medical professional would give you a score of one in motor response. Other scores include:

  • Abnormal extension to pain: 2
  • Abnormal flexion to pain: 3
  • Withdrawal from pain: 4
  • Localizing pain: 5
  • Obeying commands: 6

The higher the number, the better the result.

Eye-opening responses

One of the first things medical professionals notice about patients is whether they can open their eyes. Patients who cannot open their eyes, regardless of external stimulation, receive a score of one, whereas those who can open their eyes to only pain receive a score of two. A score of three accompanies the ability to open their eyes to sound, whereas doctors score patients who open their eyes spontaneously with a four.

Once the medical provider scores in each category, he or she takes the sum of the scores and the overall score describes the extent of a patient’s consciousness.