Study objective: The motor component of the Glasgow Coma Scale (mGCS) has been proposed as an easier-to-use alternative to the total GCS (tGCS) for field assessment of trauma patients by emergency medical services. We perform a systematic review and meta-analysis to compare the predictive utility of the tGCS versus the mGCS or Simplified Motor Scale in field triage of trauma for identifying patients with adverse outcomes (inhospital mortality or severe brain injury) or who underwent procedures (neurosurgical intervention or emergency intubation) indicating need for high-level trauma care.
Methods: Ovid MEDLINE, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature, PsycINFO, Health and Psychosocial Instruments, and the Cochrane databases were searched through June 2016 for English-language cohort studies. We included studies that compared the area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUROC) of the tGCS versus the mGCS or Simplified Motor Scale assessed in the field or shortly after arrival in the emergency department for predicting the outcomes described above. Meta-analyses were performed with a random-effects model, and subgroup and sensitivity analyses were conducted.
Results: We included 18 head-to-head studies of predictive utility (n=1,703,388). For inhospital mortality, the tGCS was associated with slightly greater discrimination than the mGCS (pooled mean difference in [AUROC] 0.015; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.009 to 0.022; I2=85%; 12 studies) or the Simplified Motor Scale (pooled mean difference in AUROC 0.030; 95% CI 0.024 to 0.036; I2=0%; 5 studies). The tGCS was also associated with greater discrimination than the mGCS or Simplified Motor Scale for nonmortality outcomes (differences in AUROC from 0.03 to 0.05). Findings were robust in subgroup and sensitivity analyses.
Conclusion: The tGCS is associated with slightly greater discrimination than the mGCS or Simplified Motor Scale for identifying severe trauma. The small differences in discrimination are likely to be clinically unimportant and could be offset by factors such as convenience and ease of use.
Copyright © 2016 American College of Emergency Physicians. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.