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Traumatic Brain Injury: Symptoms and Signs

signs_brain

Glasgow Coma Scale

The Glasgow Scale is used to measure the initial severity of a brain injury. It was developed in Glasgow, England and has gained widespread acceptance. Many studies have shown that the lower the initial score, the poorer the long term prognosis is.

Eye Opening Response
Spontaneous – open with blinking at baseline ..4 points
To verbal stimuli, command, speech …………..3 points
To pain only (not applied to face) ………………..2 points
No response ……………………………………………1 point

Verbal Response
Oriented ………………………………………………….5 points
Confused conversation, but able to answer
questions ………………………………………………..4 points
Inappropriate words ………………………………..3 points
Incomprehensible speech ………………………2 points
No response …………………………………………..1 point

Motor Response
Obeys commands for movement …………………6 points
Purposeful movement to painful stimulus ……5 points
Withdraws in response to pain…………………….4 points
Flexion in response to pain
(decorticate posturing) …………………………..3 points
Extension response in response to pain (decerebrate posturing)…………………………………………………2 points
No response ……………………………………………1 point

Categorization:
Coma: No eye opening, no ability to follow commands,
no word verbalizations………………………..3-8 points

Head Injury Classification: Severe Head Injury…………………………………GCS score of 8 or less
Moderate Head Injury………….. GCS score of 9 to 12
Mild Head Injury…………………….GCS score of 13 to 15

Some of the common signs
and symptoms of brain injury
may include:

Cognitive symptoms

Attention problems
Concentration problems
Memory problems
Orientation problems

Physical symptoms

Headaches
Dizziness
Insomnia
Fatigue
Uneven gait
Nausea
Blurred vision
Seizures

Behavioral changes

Irritability
Depression
Anxiety
Sleep disturbances

Problems with emotional control

Problems related to:
employment, marriage, relationships,
home management and school management

signs_brain_diagram
Coup (left) and contra-coup (right) brain injury

 

 

Provided by
Michael V. Kaplen, Esq.

Professorial Lecturer at Law
The George Washington University
School of Law

Chair, State of New York
Traumatic Brain Injury
Services Coordinating Council

3 Term president,
Brain Injury Association of NYS

Past Chair,
American Association for Justice
Traumatic Brain Injury Litigation Group

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