CHOP Infant Coma Scale ("Infant Face Scale"): a novel coma scale for children less than two years of age

J Neurotrauma. 2000 Sep;17(9):729-37. doi: 10.1089/neu.2000.17.729.


The Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) is the most frequently used tool worldwide for assessing the severity of neurologic injury after brain trauma, although applying this scale to infants and younger children can be problematic. The CHOP Infant Coma Scale, or Infant Face Scale (IFS), is a novel scale for children under 2 years of age which differs from other pediatric coma scales in the following ways: (1) it relies on objective behavioral observations; (2) it assesses cortical as well as brainstem function; (3) it parallels the GCS in scoring but is based on infant-appropriate behaviors; and (4) it can be applied to intubated patients. We report the results of a prospective study designed to compare interrater reliability between the IFS and GCS in children less than 2 years of age. Seventy-five hospitalized children less than 2 years of age were assessed simultaneously by a pair of observers, representing a spectrum of health care professionals, who scored the children using both the IFS and GCS. Interrater reliability for each pair of observers for each scale was assessed using the kappa statistic. A second series of 10 infants in the intensive care unit with specific diagnoses of acute traumatic or hypoxic/ischemic brain injury were similarly assessed. In the 75 hospitalized infants with a variety of diagnoses, interrater reliability for the GCS was in the "almost perfect," "slight," and "fair" range for the eye-opening, motor, and verbal subtests, respectively. In contrast, the IFS showed interrater reliability in the "almost perfect," "substantial," and "almost perfect" ranges for the three subtests. When applied to infants in an intensive care unit with acute traumatic brain injury or hypoxia/ischemia, the GCS interrater reliability scores were in the "fair" range, while the IFS scores were in the "almost perfect" range. The IFS demonstrates improved interrater reliability in direct comparison to the GCS, particularly in the "verbal/face" component where most pediatric coma scales are deficient. The IFS may prove to be a simple and practical bedside index of brain injury severity in children less than two years of age.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Brain Injuries / diagnosis*
  • Coma / diagnosis*
  • Emergency Medical Services / methods
  • Emergency Medical Services / standards
  • Emergency Medical Services / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Observer Variation
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Trauma Severity Indices*