Expert advice

What is the Glasgow Coma Scale and how can nurses interpret it?

The guidance on assessing acute neurological conditions or brain injury is used worldwide

The guidance on assessing acute neurological conditions or brain injury is used worldwide

What is the Glasgow Coma Scale?

The Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) is a tool used to assess and calculate a patient’s level of consciousness. It was developed more than 40 years ago by two neurosurgeons in Glasgow and is widely applied today.

The scale was first described as a way to communicate about the level of consciousness of patients with an acute brain injury by Sir Graham Teasdale and Bryan Jennett in a 1974 Lancet article . Initially used to assess levels of consciousness in patients after head injury, it is now applied in treating acutely unwell patients in more than 80 countries worldwide.

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