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Breaking the Glasgow Coma Scale

| Apr 2, 2021 | Firm News

News that a family member or friend suffered a traumatic brain injury no doubt comes as devastating news to anyone in Arizona. Upon hearing this, most ready themselves to stand ready to offer whatever assistance their loved one will need going forward. That often prompts them to want to know exactly what their family member or friend’s long-term prognosis may be.  

Yet is such information attainable in the immediate aftermath of one sustaining a TBI? It may very well be, thanks to a clinical observation test known as the Glasgow Coma Scale.  

Diagnosing TBI victims

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 2.87 million Americans require treatment for TBIs annually. The prevalence of this problem prompted clinicians to develop methods to diagnose the extent of a TBI victim’s injury to help determine their course of treatment. The GCS ranks among the more common of these. It involves closely observing a TBI victim’s eye movement, motor skills and verbal responses immediately after presenting for treatment. Caretakers assign points depending on a patient’s responses in each of these individual areas, and then sum those point totals to come up with an overall GCS score.  

Understanding the extent of a TBI

The extent of one’s TBI offers an indication of their long-term outlook. Per the CDC, the breakdown of GCS scores is as follows:  

  • Above 13: Mild brain injury 
  • 9-12: Moderate brain injury 
  • 8 or below: Severe brain injury 

Those who suffer severe TBIs will likely require extensive care over an extended period of time (often for the rest of their lives). One might only expect limited recovery from such an injury (if one recovers at all). 

While mild and moderate brain injuries offer a better hope of recovery, they still may require complex (and often costly) care to return to their pre-injury lifestyles.