Appropriate use of the Glasgow Coma Scale in intubated patients: a linear regression prediction of the Glasgow verbal score from the Glasgow eye and motor scores

J Trauma. 1996 Sep;41(3):514-22. doi: 10.1097/00005373-199609000-00022.


The Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) has been shown to be a valuable tool in assessing the neurologic and physiologic status of critically ill patients. Unfortunately, the GCS requires assessment of the verbal response of the patient and this can be blocked by intubation. The purpose of this study was to assess the ability of a regression model based upon the eye and motor components of the GCS to accurately predict the verbal response of the GCS. The primary hypothesis was that the verbal response could be derived from the motor and eye responses of the GCS.

Methods: Data were collected prospectively in an intensive care unit computer data base. Patients were divided into training and test data sets. Linear regression was used to derive a model of verbal score from the motor and eye scores of the GCS in the training data set. Correlation between the actual and the predicted verbal scores was calculated.

Results: A total of 2,521 GCS assessments were available for analysis. The second order multiple regression model was an accurate predictor of the verbal score (Pearson's Correlation r = 0.9, R2 = 0.8, p = 0.0001) in 1,463 observations in the training data set. Second Order Multiple Regression Model: Estimated GCS Verbal = (2.3976) + [GCS Motor x (-0.9253)] + [GCS Eye x (-0.9214)] + [(GCS Motor)2 x (0.2208)] + [(GCS Eye)2 x (0.2318)] where r = 0.91, R2 = 0.83, and p = 0.0001. The accuracy of this model was confirmed by comparing the predicted verbal score to the actual verbal score in the test data set (n = 736, r = 0.92, R2 = 0.85, p = 0.0001)

Conclusions: The GCS is a useful tool in the intensive care unit and a critical part of the APACHE II assessment of patient acuity. GCS has been shown to be a useful tool in its own right as a predictor of outcome in the critically ill. Its use is limited with intubation. (See Segatore M, Way C: Heart Lung 21:548, 1992; and Lieh-Lai MW, Theodorou AA, Sarnaik AP, et al: J Pediatr 120:195, 1992.) The present study demonstrates that a relatively simple regression model can use the eye and motor components of the GCS to predict the expected verbal component of the GCS, thus allowing the calculation of the GCS sum score in intubated patients.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Glasgow Coma Scale*
  • Humans
  • Intubation, Gastrointestinal*
  • Linear Models*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Regression Analysis