Glasgow Coma Scale Scoring is Often Inaccurate

Bryan E Bledsoe, Michael J Casey, Jay Feldman, Larry Johnson, Scott Diel, Wes Forred, Codee Gorman
Prehospital and Disaster Medicine 2015, 30 (1): 46-53

INTRODUCTION: The Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) is widely applied in the emergency setting; it is used to guide trauma triage and for the application of essential interventions such as endotracheal intubation. However, inter-rater reliability of GCS scoring has been shown to be low for inexperienced users, especially for the motor component. Concerns regarding the accuracy and validity of GCS scoring between various types of emergency care providers have been expressed. Hypothesis/Problem The objective of this study was to determine the degree of accuracy of GCS scoring between various emergency care providers within a modern Emergency Medical Services (EMS) system.

METHODS: This was a prospective observational study of the accuracy of GCS scoring using a convenience sample of various types of emergency medical providers using standardized video vignettes. Ten video vignettes using adults were prepared and scored by two board-certified neurologists. Inter-rater reliability was excellent (Cohen's κ = 1). Subjects viewed the video and then scored each scenario. The scoring of subjects was compared to expert scoring of the two board-certified neurologists.

RESULTS: A total of 217 emergency providers watched 10 video vignettes and provided 2,084 observations of GCS scoring. Overall total GCS scoring accuracy was 33.1% (95% CI, 30.2-36.0). The highest accuracy was observed on the verbal component of the GCS (69.2%; 95% CI, 67.8-70.4). The eye-opening component was the second most accurate (61.2%; 95% CI, 59.5-62.9). The least accurate component was the motor component (59.8%; 95% CI, 58.1-61.5). A small number of subjects (9.2%) assigned GCS scores that do not exist in the GCS scoring system.

CONCLUSIONS: Glasgow Coma Scale scoring should not be considered accurate. A more simplified scoring system should be developed and validated.


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Available on the App Store

Available on the Play Store
Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"