Glasgow Coma Scale


The nervous system is an organ system containing a network of specialized cells called neurons that coordinate the actions of a human being and transmit signals between different parts of its body. The nervous system consists of two parts, central and peripheral. The central nervous system contains the brain, spinal cord, and retina. The peripheral nervous system consists of sensory neurons, clusters of neurons called ganglia, and nerves connecting them to each other and to the central nervous system.

Neuron– is the functional unit of the nervous system. Each connected at the synapse between axon (transmits message away from the neuron) and dendrite (transmits message towards the neuron.
Neurotransmitters– are chemical compounds which activate or inhibit such transmission.

  • Mental Status or LOC
  • Reflexes
  • Motor functions
  • Sensory functions
  • Cranial Nerves
The Glasgow Coma Scale

Is a tool used in assessing a patient’s response to stimuli. Scores range from 3 (deep coma) to 15 (normal), a score less than or equal to 8 indicates coma.

Eye-opening response
  • Spontaneously – 4 points
  • To speech – 3 points
  • To pain – 2 points
  • No response – 1 point
Verbal response
  • Oriented – 5 points
  • Confused – 4 points
  • Inappropriate words – 3 points
  • Incomprehensible sounds – 2 points
  • No response – 1 point
Motor Response
  • Obeys request- 6 points
  • Localizes pain – 5 points
  • Withdraws from painful stimuli – 4 points
  • Abnormal flexion- decorticate posture – 3 points
  • Abnormal extension- decerebrate posture – 2 points
  • No response – 1 point
Total score ranges from 3-15.
A total of 7 or less indicates severe neurological damage.
Key Terms

  • Confusion- loss of ability to think clearly
  • Disorientation- inability to recognize time, place, person
  • Lethargy- lack of spontaneous movement or speech and easily aroused but disoriented
  • Obtundation- reduced ability to be aroused and limited response to environment
  • Stupor- condition of deep sleep or unresponsiveness and aroused only by vigorous stimulation
  • Coma- no motor response to any stimuli, even deep pain
  • Dysarthria- defect in articulation, ennunciation
  • Dysphonia- abnormal production of sound
  • Aphasia- inability to understand written and spoken words
  • Agnosia- inability to recognize objects by use of 5 senses.