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Glasgow Coma Scale for head injury

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Child laying on the ground having fallen off their bike

Developing the Glasgow coma scale for head injury

More than 100,000 people are admitted to UK hospitals every year with a head injury, a third of them are children.

During the late 1960s and the 1970s, grants awarded by Action Medical Research led doctors at the University of Glasgow to develop the now-famous Glasgow Coma Scale to assess head injuries. The scale is used to initially assess consciousness and as part of subsequent monitoring and clinical decision-making. A paediatric version has also been developed for babies and children.

The scale revolutionised the way consciousness was measured and has been translated into different languages for use worldwide. In the UK, the Glasgow Coma Scale is the standard way of assessing severity of head injury and is incorporated into the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines for managing head injuries.