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Glasgow Outcome Scale (GOS)
The Glasgow Outcome Scale is freely available: Glasgow Outcome Scale.
Supplemental: Stroke, TBI, Unruptured Cerebral Aneurysms and Subarachnoid Hemorrhage (SAH)
Short Description of Instrument
Purpose: The Glasgow Outcome Scale was developed to define broad outcome categories for people who sustain acute brain damage from head injury or non-traumatic brain insults.1 The scale reflects disability and handicap rather than impairment; that is, it focuses on how the injury has affected functioning in major areas of life rather than on the particular deficits and symptoms caused by injury.2 It is not intended to provide detailed information about the specific difficulties faced by individual patients, but to give a general index of overall outcome.
Overview: The GOS is a one item scale with 5 possible ratings (Dead, Vegetative State, Severe Disability, Moderate Disability, and Good Recovery).
Time: Depending on prior familiarity with the patient, the scale can be completed in as little as 5 minutes.
Other Important Notes: Some have questioned the validity of the GOS with children; there is an adaptation that can be used with children.
Comments/Special Instructions
Scoring and Psychometric Properties
Scoring: Ratings for the GOS range from 1 to 5 (Dead to Good Recovery).
The GOS is generally rated by a clinician or research assistant who is familiar with the patient or who conducts a structured interview to obtain needed information.
Psychometric Properties: An inter-rater reliability study of the structured interview found the standard format of the GOS assessment within a written protocol is practical and reliable. This scales are very commonly used to predict global outcomes and there is an extensive literature demonstrating reliability and validity for the GOS.
Hacke W, Kaste M, Bluhmki E, Bozman M, Davalos A, Guidetti D, Larrue V, Lees KR, Medeghri Z, Machnig T, Schneider D, von Kummer R, Wahlgren N, Toni D. Thrombolysis with Alteplase 3 to 4.5 Hours after Acute Ischemic Stroke. N Engl J Med. 2008; 359: 1317-1329.
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke rt-PA Stroke Study Group. Tissue Plasminogen Activator for Acute Ischemic Stroke. N Engl J Med. 1995; 333: 1581-1588.
Teasdale GM, Pettigrew LE, Wilson JT, Murray G, Jennett B. Analyzing outcome of treatment of severe head injury: a review and update on advancing the use of the Glasgow Outcome Scale. J Neurotrauma 1998;15(8), 587-597.
Wilson JT, Pettigrew LE, Teasdale GM Structured interviews for the Glasgow Outcome Scale and the extended Glasgow Outcome Scale: guidelines for their use. J Neurotrauma 1998;15(8), 573-585.


Document last updated May 2020