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

Steven E. Ross, Catherine Leipold, Carol Terregino, Keith F. O'Malley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

90 Scopus citations


Background: 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. Methods: A 2-year retrospective review of 3,235 injured adults transported directly to a Level I trauma center. Results: 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. Conclusion: GCSM is equivalent to GCS for prehospital triage, and in view of its simplicity it should replace the GCS in triage schemes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)42-44
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Trauma - Injury, Infection and Critical Care
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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