Quickly assessing severity of head injuries with a new method

Quickly assessing severity of head injuries with a new method

A new and faster way to assess the levels of consciousness in individuals suffering with head injuries could improve the accuracy and speed of patient care.

The new score system is based on the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) from 1974 and could help improve the way doctors across the globe treat patients in comas due to head injuries.

The original 13-point scale, created at the University of Glasgow and the city’s Southern General Hospital, covers the patient’s ability to open their eyes, move and speak, and has revolutionised the care of head injury patients worldwide.

Improving the scoring system

To help improve the scale system, the original team behind the GCS joined researchers at the University of Edinburgh and added a simple score for pupil response.

Known as the GCS-Pupil (GCS-P), after using health records from over 15,000 patients, it was shown that the new score system would have improved doctors’ ability to predict a patient’s condition in the six months following a brain injury.

Experts say that one major advantage of the GCS-P is the simplicity of use and how it could be adopted into hospitals easily, which will allow doctors to quickly assess prognosis.

‘Predictive ability and usefulness’

Dr Paul Brennan, co-lead on the study from the University of Edinburgh’s Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences, said: “The importance of the Glasgow Coma Scale to medicine cannot be overstated, and our simple revision really improves its predictive ability and usefulness.

“Making major decisions about brain injured patients relies on quick assessments, and the new method gives us rapid insights into the patient’s condition. Our next step is to test the GCS-P more widely on large datasets from Europe and the US.”

A successful collaboration

Sir Graham Teasdale, professor of neurosurgery at Glasgow University, co-lead on the study and the first who developed the GCS, added: “This has been a very successful collaboration. It promises to add a new index to the language of clinical practice throughout the world. The GCS-P will be a platform for bringing together clinical information in a way that can be easily communicated and understood. ”

The study was published in the Journal of Neurosurgery.

Source: EurekAlert

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