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J Trauma. 1998 Jul;45(1):42-4.

Efficacy of the motor component of the Glasgow Coma Scale in trauma triage.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Cooper Health Systems, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey/Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Camden, USA.



National guidelines recommend that patients with Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) scores of less than 14 be triaged to trauma centers. We hypothesized that the motor component of the GCS (GCSM) would be equally sensitive as the total GCS in head injury triage.


A 2-year retrospective review of 3,235 injured adults transported directly to a Level I trauma center.


One thousand four hundred ten patients (44%) had prehospital GCS scores recorded. GCSM was found to have a sensitivity of 0.90 for Abbreviated Injury Scale (AIS) score = 5 head injury and 0.61 for AIS score > 3 injury, whereas the GCS had sensitivities of 0.92 and 0.62, respectively (p = not significant). Specificities were equal at 0.85 for AIS score = 5 and 0.89 for AIS score > 3.


GCSM is equivalent to GCS for prehospital triage, and in view of its simplicity it should replace the GCS in triage schemes.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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