JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Performance of the pediatric glasgow coma scale in children with blunt head trauma.

OBJECTIVES: To compare the accuracy of a pediatric Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score in preverbal children with blunt head trauma with the standard GCS score in older children.

METHODS: The authors prospectively enrolled children younger than 18 years with blunt head trauma. Patients were divided into cohorts of those 2 years and younger and those older than 2 years. The authors assigned a pediatric GCS score to the younger cohort and the standard GCS score to the older cohort. Outcomes were 1) traumatic brain injury (TBI) on computed tomography (CT) scan or 2) TBI in need of acute intervention. The authors created and compared receiver operating characteristic (ROC) curves between the age cohorts for the association of GCS scores and TBI.

RESULTS: The authors enrolled 2,043 children, and 327 were 2 years and younger. Among these 327, 15 (7.7%; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 4.4% to 12.4%) of 194 who underwent imaging with CT had TBI visible and nine (2.8%; 95% CI = 1.3% to 5.2%) had TBI needing acute intervention. In children older than 2 years, 83 (7.7%; 95% CI = 6.2% to 9.5%) of the 1,077 who underwent imaging with CT had TBI visible and 96 (5.6%; 95% CI = 4.6% to 6.8%) had TBI needing acute intervention. For the pediatric GCS in children 2 years and younger, the area under the ROC curve was 0.72 (95% CI = 0.56 to 0.87) for TBI on CT scan and 0.97 (95% CI = 0.94 to 1.00) for TBI needing acute intervention. For the standard GCS in older children, the area under the ROC curve was 0.82 (95% CI = 0.76 to 0.87) for TBI on CT scan and 0.87 (95% CI = 0.83 to 0.92) for TBI needing acute intervention.

CONCLUSIONS: This pediatric GCS for children 2 years and younger compares favorably with the standard GCS in the evaluation of children with blunt head trauma. The pediatric GCS is particularly accurate in evaluating preverbal children with blunt head trauma with regard to the need for acute intervention.

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