Baseline NIH Stroke Scale score strongly predicts outcome after stroke: A report of the Trial of Org 10172 in Acute Stroke Treatment (TOAST)

Neurology. 1999 Jul 13;53(1):126-31. doi: 10.1212/wnl.53.1.126.


Objective: To compare the baseline National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) score and the Trial of Org 10172 in Acute Stroke Treatment (TOAST) stroke subtype as predictors of outcomes at 7 days and 3 months after ischemic stroke.

Methods: Using data collected from 1,281 patients enrolled in a clinical trial, subtype of stroke was categorized using the TOAST classification, and neurologic impairment at baseline was quantified using the NIHSS. Outcomes were assessed at 7 days and 3 months using the Barthel Index (BI) and the Glasgow Outcome Scale (GOS). An outcome was rated as excellent if the GOS score was 1 and the BI was 19 or 20 (scale of 0 to 20). Analyses were adjusted for age, sex, race, and history of previous stroke.

Results: The baseline NIHSS score strongly predicted outcome, with one additional point on the NIHSS decreasing the likelihood of excellent outcomes at 7 days by 24% and at 3 months by 17%. At 3 months, excellent outcomes were noted in 46% of patients with NIHSS scores of 7 to 10 and in 23% of patients with scores of 11 to 15. After multivariate adjustment, lacunar stroke had an odds ratio of 3.1 (95% CI, 1.5 to 6.4) for an excellent outcome at 3 months.

Conclusions: The NIHSS score strongly predicts the likelihood of a patient's recovery after stroke. A score of > or =16 forecasts a high probability of death or severe disability whereas a score of < or =6 forecasts a good recovery. Only the TOAST subtype of lacunar stroke predicts outcomes independent of the NIHSS score.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Anticoagulants / therapeutic use*
  • Cerebrovascular Disorders / classification*
  • Cerebrovascular Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Cerebrovascular Disorders / physiopathology
  • Chondroitin Sulfates / therapeutic use*
  • Dermatan Sulfate / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Glasgow Coma Scale
  • Heparitin Sulfate / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • National Institutes of Health (U.S.)
  • Probability
  • Time Factors
  • Trauma Severity Indices*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United States


  • Anticoagulants
  • Dermatan Sulfate
  • Chondroitin Sulfates
  • Heparitin Sulfate
  • danaparoid