Glasgow Coma Scale Susan England, MSN , RN Lloyd Preston, MSN, RN APRN-BC Riza Mauricio, MSN, RN,CCRN, CPNP-AC Jennifer McWha, MSN, RN
Clinical Scenario • A 20 year old white male presented to the EC unconscious 5 minutes after missing the pole vault pit and landing with the occipital region of his head hitting the ground. • Neurologic evaluation on admission as follows: patient’s eyes opened to the sound of his name, and when asked where he was, the patient responded with “my shoes to change.” The patient moved all of his fingers and toes when prompted. • What is this patient’s score on the Glasgow Coma Scale?
Glasgow Coma Scale: What is it? • Developed by neurosurgeons in 1974 • Quantifies level of consciousness • Acute brain damage: traumatic and/or vascular injuries or infections • Metabolic disorders: hepatic or renal failure, hypoglycemia, diabetic ketosis, toxic ingestion • Assess initial level of consciousness • Assess changes in level of consciousness • Helps guide treatment and predict outcome
Posturing • Decorticate • Upper extremity flexion with lower extremity extension • Mesencephalic region or corticospinal tract damage • Decerebrate • Upper and lower extremity extension • Brainstem damage below the red nucleus • Progressive • Uncal or tonsilar herniation
Stimulation • Eye opening • Name spoken loudly • Verbal response • Person, place, time • Motor response • Fingernail bed pressure • Supraorbital pressure • Hand crosses midline and above clavicle • Sternal rub
Glasgow score • Score range • Extubated: 3 – 15 • Intubated: 3 – 11T • Clinical presentation • Normal: GCS =15 • Comatose: GCS ≤ 8 • Dead: GCS = 3 • Grading of head injury • Minor: GCS ≥13 • Moderate: GCS 9 -12 • Severe: GCS ≤ 8 • Example report • GCS 9 = E2 V4 M3 at 07:35
Prognosis variability • Past medical history • Age, previous neurological problems • Injury • Type and location, depth, duration of coma, presence of low blood pressure, oxygen levels after the injury • Current findings • Physical examinations, radiological studies of the brain
Clinical Scenario (revisited) • The patient’s eyes initially closed, opened to the sound of his name. • Eye opening • 3 • When asked where he was, the patient said “my shoes to change.” • Verbal response • 3 • The patient moved all of his fingers and toes when prompted. • Motor response • 6
Case Scenario • SCORE • GCS 12 = E3 V3 M6 at 16:34 • Head injury severity • Moderate
Research: Predictability of GCS • Numerous researchers have investigated the use of the GCS score in predicting outcomes in head injury patients. • Cumulative findings: GCS scores are most accurate at predicting outcome in head-injured patients when they are combined with patient age and pupillary response and when broad outcome categories are used. • Knowledge of potential outcomes for head-injured patients based on these early GCS scores is valuable for nurses and other healthcare professionals who care for and support these patients and their loved ones throughout the recovery process. • J Neurosci Nurs 20
References • Greenberg,M. (2006). Coma: Handbook of Neurosurgery, (154-160) New York, NY:Thieme. ISBN 1-588890 457 1). • McNett, M. (2007). A Review of the Predictive Ability of Glasgow Coma Scale Scores in Head-Injured Patients. The Journal of Neuroscience Nursing,392(2),68-75. • Weir, C.J., Bradford, A.P., and Lees, K.R. (2003). The Prognostic values of the components of Glasgow Coma Scale following acute stroke. QJMedicine: An International Journal of Medicine, 96, 67-74.