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Acad Emerg Med. 2006 Sep;13(9):968-73. Epub 2006 Aug 7.

A comparison of five simplified scales to the out-of-hospital Glasgow Coma Scale for the prediction of traumatic brain injury outcomes.

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  • 1Department of Emergency Medicine, Loma Linda University School of Medicine, Loma Linda, CA, USA.



The 15-point Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) frequently is used in the initial evaluation of traumatic brain injury (TBI) in out-of-hospital settings. We hypothesized that the GCS might be unnecessarily complex for out-of-hospital use.


To assess whether a simpler scoring system might demonstrate similar accuracy in the prediction of TBI outcomes.


We performed a retrospective analysis of a trauma registry consisting of patients evaluated at our Level 1 trauma center from 1990 to 2002. The ability of out-of-hospital GCS scores to predict four clinically relevant TBI outcomes (emergency intubation, neurosurgical intervention, brain injury, and mortality) by using areas under receiver operating characteristic curves (AUROCs) was calculated. The same analyses for five simplified scales were performed, and compared with the predictive accuracies of the total GCS score.


In this evaluation of 7,233 trauma patients over a 12-year period of time, the AUROCs for the total GCS score were 0.83 (95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.81 to 0.84) for emergency intubation, 0.86 (95% CI = 0.85 to 0.88) for neurosurgical intervention, 0.83 (95% CI = 0.82 to 0.84) for brain injury, and 0.89 (95% CI = 0.88 to 0.90) for mortality. The five simplified scales approached the performance of the total GCS score for all clinical outcomes.


In the evaluation of injured patients, five simplified neurological scales approached the performance of the total GCS score for the prediction of four clinically relevant TBI outcomes.

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