Usefulness of the Abbreviated Injury Score and the Injury Severity Score in Comparison to the Glasgow Coma Scale in Predicting Outcome After Traumatic Brain Injury

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Assessment of injury severity is important in the management of patients with brain trauma. We aimed to analyze the usefulness of the head abbreviated injury score (AIS), the injury severity score (ISS), and the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) as measures of injury severity and predictors of outcome after traumatic brain injury (TBI).


Data were prospectively collected from 410 patients with TBI. AIS, ISS, and GCS were recorded at admission. Subjects' outcomes after TBI were measured using the Glasgow Outcome Scale (GOS-E) at 12 months postinjury. Uni- and multivariate analyses were performed.


Outcome information was obtained from 270 patients (66%). ISS was the best predictor of GOS-E (rs = −0.341, p < 0.001), followed by GCS score (rs = 0.227, p < 0.001), and head AIS (rs = −0.222, p < 0.001). When considered in combination, GCS score and ISS modestly improved the correlation with GOS-E (R = 0.335, p < 0.001). The combination of GCS score and head AIS had a similar effect (R = 0.275, p < 0.001). Correlations were stronger from patients ≤48 years old. We found comparable correlations between patients who suffered severe injuries (GCS ≤8) and those who suffered mild and moderate injuries (GCS >8).


GCS score, AIS, and ISS are weakly correlated with 12-month outcome. However, anatomic measures modestly outperform GCS as predictors of GOS-E. The combination of GCS and AIS/ISS correlate with outcome better than do any of the three measures alone. Results support the addition of anatomic measures such as AIS and ISS in clinical studies of TBI. Additionally, most of the variance in outcome is not accounted for by currently available measures of injury severity.

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