Tag Archives: scoring


Score to predict traumatic coagulopathy

Acute traumatic coagulopathy (ATC) is present in up to 25% of major trauma patients by the time they arrive in hospital. A predictive tool called the coagulopathy of severe trauma (COAST) score was retrospectively derived and then prospectively validated in major trauma patients in the state of Victoria, Australia. The definition of ATC was INR > 1.5 (1.0–1.3) or aPTT of > 60 s (25–38 s) on hospital presentation.

The study claims that a subgroup of patients with acute traumatic coagulopathy can be accurately identified based on simple observations in the pre-hospital phase or immediately on presentation to the ED, and that this could improve the feasibility of prospective interventional studies. Perhaps this will lead on to evaluation of pre-hospital tranexamic acid or even blood products?

At the cutoff score of ≥3, 40 coagulopathic patients would have been missed with 60 patients correctly predicted. The authors argue that while the low sensitivity of the score missed these coagulopathic patients, they had significantly better outcomes (and contained a significantly higher proportion of patients with isolated severe head injury).



Introduction: The inability to accurately predict acute traumatic coagulopathy (ATC) has been a key factor in the low level of evidence guiding its management. The aim of this study was to develop a tool to accurately identify patients with ATC using pre-hospital variables without the use of pathology or radiological testing.


Methods: Retrospective data from the trauma registry on major trauma patients were used to identify vari- ables independently associated with coagulopathy. These variables were clinically evaluated to develop a scoring system to predict ATC, which was prospectively validated in the same setting.


Results: There were 1680 major trauma patients in the derivation dataset, with 151 patients being coagulopathic. Pre-hospital variables independently associated with ATC were entrapment (OR 1.85; 95% CI: 1.12–3.06), temperature (OR 0.60; 95% CI: 0.60–0.72), systolic blood pressure (OR 0.99; 95% CI: 0.98–0.99), abdominal or pelvic content injury (OR 2.0; 95% CI: 1.27–3.12) and pre-hospital chest decompression (OR 4.99; 2.77–8.99). The COAST score was developed, scoring points for entrapment, temperature <35 ◦ C, systolic blood pressure <100 mm Hg, abdominal or pelvic content injury and chest decompression. Prospectively validated using 1225 major trauma patients, a COAST score of ≥3 had a specificity of 96.4% with a sensitivity of 60.0%, with an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of 0.83 (0.78–0.88).


Conclusions: The COAST score accurately identified a group of patients with ATC using pre-hospital obser- vations. This predictive tool can be used to select patients for inclusion into prospective studies examining management options for ATC. Mortality in these patients is high, potentially improving feasibility of outcome studies.


TIA workup renders ABCD2 unhelpful

ABCD2 is recommended to stratify the risk of stroke in patients presenting to the ED with TIA symptoms. In some centres this is used to differentiate those that need to be admitted for further evaluation and treatment from those that can be followed up in the outpatient setting. A recent study showed that if a detailed work up was done in the ED on all TIA patients (followed by appropriate intervention), the ABCD2 score did not predict adverse outcomes, which were lower in this cohort than in the original ABCD2 cohort.

STUDY OBJECTIVE: We study the incremental value of the ABCD2 score in predicting short-term risk of ischemic stroke after thorough emergency department (ED) evaluation of transient ischemic attack.

METHODS: This was a prospective observational study of consecutive patients presenting to the ED with a transient ischemic attack. Patients underwent a full ED evaluation, including central nervous system and carotid artery imaging, after which ABCD2 scores and risk category were assigned. We evaluated correlations between risk categories and occurrence of subsequent ischemic stroke at 7 and 90 days.

RESULTS: The cohort consisted of 637 patients (47% women; mean age 73 years; SD 13 years). There were 15 strokes within 90 days after the index transient ischemic attack. At 7 days, the rate of stroke according to ABCD2 category in our cohort was 1.1% in the low-risk group, 0.3% in the intermediate-risk group, and 2.7% in the high-risk group. At 90 days, the rate of stroke in our ED cohort was 2.1% in the low-risk group, 2.1% in the intermediate-risk group, and 3.6% in the high-risk group. There was no relationship between ABCD2 score at presentation and subsequent stroke after transient ischemic attack at 7 or 90 days.

CONCLUSION: The ABCD2 score did not add incremental value beyond an ED evaluation that includes central nervous system and carotid artery imaging in the ability to risk-stratify patients with transient ischemic attack in our cohort. Practice approaches that include brain and carotid artery imaging do not benefit by the incremental addition of the ABCD2 score. In this population of transient ischemic attack patients, selected by emergency physicians for a rapid ED-based outpatient protocol that included early carotid imaging and treatment when appropriate, the rate of stroke was independent of ABCD2 stratification.

An Assessment of the Incremental Value of the ABCD2 Score in the Emergency Department Evaluation of Transient Ischemic Attack
Ann Emerg Med. 2011 Jan;57(1):46-51

GCS in intubated patients

We use the Glasgow Coma Score to describe conscious level, derived from eye opening, verbal response, and motor response.

One problem is that if your patient is intubated, there can’t be a verbal response. There are some ways round this. Imagine your intubated patient opens eys to a painful stimulus and withdraws his limb from one:

  • Just give him the lowest score (1) for the verbal component – E2M4V1
  • Write ‘V’ (ventilated) or ‘T’ (tube), eg. E2M4VT
  • Make it up, based on what you would expect the V score to be based on the E and M scores.

Weird as it sounds, there is a model for this, demonstrated in the paper abstracted below. The Derived Verbal Score = -0.3756 + Motor Score * (0.5713) + Eye Score * (0.4233).

Don’t worry…if you really want to use this, you don’t have to memorise that equation; there is an online calculator for it here and if you try it you’ll see this patient gets a derived verbal score of 2.3, and therefore a GCS of 7.3! Your decision now whether to round up or down. (In the meantime, I’ve given the patient a V of 1 and called it GCS E2M4VT=7.)

Alternatively, of course, you could try a better validated score that gives more information, the FOUR score, as validated here. The problem is, most people won’t know what you’re talking about.

The conundrum of the Glasgow Coma Scale in intubated patients: a linear regression prediction of the Glasgow verbal score from the Glasgow eye and motor scores.
Meredith W, Rutledge R, Fakhry SM, Emery S, Kromhout-Schiro S.

BACKGROUND: The Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS), which is the foundation of the Trauma Score, Trauma and Injury Severity Score, and the Acute Physiology and Chronic Health Evaluation scoring systems, requires a verbal response. In some series, up to 50% of injured patients must be excluded from analysis because of lack of a verbal component for the GCS. The present study extends previous work evaluating derivation of the verbal score from the eye and motor components of the GCS.

METHODS: Data were obtained from a state trauma registry for 24,565 unintubated patients. The eye and motor scores were used in a previously published regression model to predict the verbal score: Derived Verbal Score = -0.3756 + Motor Score * (0.5713) + Eye Score * (0.4233). The correlation of the actual and derived verbal and GCS scales were assessed. In addition the ability of the actual and derived GCS to predict patient survival in a logistic regression model were analyzed using the PC SAS system for statistical analysis. The predictive power of the actual and the predicted GCS were compared using the area under the receiver operator characteristic curve and Hosmer-Lemeshow goodness-of-fit testing.

RESULTS: A total of 24,085 patients were available for analysis. The mean actual verbal score was 4.4 +/- 1.3 versus a predicted verbal score of 4.3 +/- 1.2 (r = 0.90, p = 0.0001). The actual GCS was 13.6 + 3.5 versus a predicted GCS of 13.7 +/- 3.4 (r = 0.97, p = 0.0001). The results of the comparison of the prediction of survival in patients based on the actual GCS and the derived GCS show that the mean actual GCS was 13.5 + 3.5 versus 13.7 + 3.4 in the regression predicted model. The area under the receiver operator characteristic curve for predicting survival of the two values was similar at 0.868 for the actual GCS compared with 0.850 for the predicted GCS.

CONCLUSIONS: The previously derived method of calculating the verbal score from the eye and motor scores is an excellent predictor of the actual verbal score. Furthermore, the derived GCS performed better than the actual GCS by several measures. The present study confirms previous work that a very accurate GCS can be derived in the absence of the verbal component.

The conundrum 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. 1998 May;44(5):839-44 (if you have full text access to Journal of Trauma the best bit about this article is the discussion on pages 844-5 in which surgeons wrestle with the meaning of the word ‘conundrum’ and the spelling of ‘Glasgow’).