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Glasgow Coma Scale

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jun 5, 2024.

What is the Glasgow Coma Scale?

What is tested with the Glasgow Coma Scale?

The GCS measures different types of responses. A higher score means a higher level of consciousness. A lower score means a lower level of consciousness.

What test is used to check the level of consciousness in children?

Children under the age of 2 years may be given a different type of GCS. This test is called the Children's Coma Scale (CCS). You may also hear healthcare providers call it the Pediatric Glasgow Coma Scale, or P-GCS. The CCS is used because very young children cannot speak or move as well as adults. Healthcare providers give points for how well the child opens his or her eyes by himself or herself. They also give points for cooing, babbling, and crying sounds instead of words. Healthcare providers may do the CCS with a child many times while he or she is in the hospital. By looking at the CCS results over time, healthcare providers can see signs that the child is getting better.

When and how is the Glasgow Coma Scale used?

What are the disadvantages of the Glasgow Coma Scale?

The GCS does not work as well if healthcare providers cannot score all 3 parts of the test.

What is the Trauma Score and Injury Severity Score?

The Trauma Score and Injury Severity Score (TRISS) is another test that healthcare providers use when a person has been injured. Healthcare providers check the person's age, blood pressure, and how the pupils in his or her eyes respond to light. A person's pupils normally get smaller in light and larger in darkness. If pupils get smaller and larger correctly, it may mean the person's brain injury is not as severe. The TRISS helps healthcare providers plan the person's care.

Where can I find support and more information?

When should I contact the person's healthcare provider?

When should I seek immediate care?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

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