Inaccuracy and misjudged factors of Glasgow Coma Scale scores when assessed by inexperienced physicians

Jun Namiki, Motoyasu Yamazaki, Tomohiro Funabiki, Shingo Hori

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: Appropriate triage of a large number of patients with head injury is crucial in the emergency department (ED) as well as in the field. Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is primarily assessed using the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) to evaluate consciousness. However, GCS score assignment is far from sufficiently reliable for correct assessment, especially with inexperienced users. The purpose of this study was to reveal what factors are misjudged when assessed by inexperienced medical personnel. Methods: We analyzed GCS eye, verbal, and motor response (EVM) scoring profiles conducted by postgraduate year 1 junior residents (n = 94) before they began residency in specific departments. GCS assessment was tested using a video simulation that portrayed mock patients with eight different levels of consciousness that are frequently encountered in trauma patients. Results: On average, 26 ± 18% of examinees failed to provide the correct EVM profiles for the eight selected consciousness levels. Primary misjudged GCS factors belonged to two categories: the assessment of "confused conversation (V4)", and the assessment of "withdrawal motor response (M4)". Conclusion: Additional instruction regarding the specific misjudged factors identified in this study may help inexperienced medical personnel improve the reliability of GCS score assignment to casualties with TBI.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)393-398
Number of pages6
JournalClinical Neurology and Neurosurgery
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Jun


  • Brain injury
  • Consciousness level
  • Emergency department
  • Glasgow Coma Scale
  • Simulation
  • Triage

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology


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