NIH Stroke Scale

1a. Level of Consciousness:

0 = Alert: keenly responsive)
1 = Not alert: but arousable by minor stimulation to obey, answer, or respond
2 = Not alert: requires repeated stimulation to attend, or is obtunded and requires strong or painful stimulation to make movements (not stereotyped)
3 = Responds only with reflex motor or autonomic effects or totally unresponsive, flaccid, and areflexic

-Notes:
--Must choose a response if a full evaluation is prevented by ETT, language barrier/orotracheal trauma/bandages.
--A "3" is scored only if the patient makes no movement (other than reflexive

posturing) in response to noxious stimulation.


1b. LOC Questions:

1) What is the month?
2) What is your age?

0 = Answers 2 questions correctly
1 = Answers 1 question correctly
2 = Answers 0 questions correctly

-Notes:
--Only initial answer should be graded
--Do not help patient with verbal/non-verbal cues
--The answer must be correct (no partial credit for being close)
--Aphasic/stuporous patients who do not comprehend the questions: scored "2"
--Patients unable to speak because of ETT/orotracheal trauma/severe dysarthria/language barrier/any other problem not due to aphasia: scored "1"

1c. LOC Commands:

1) Open and close your eyes
2) Grip and release non-paretic hand (may substitute another one-step command if hands cannot be used, due to trauma/amputation/etc)

0 = Performs 2 tasks correctly
1 = Performs 1 task correctly
2 = Performs 0 tasks correctly

-Notes:
--Only initial answer should be graded
--Credit is given if an unequivocal attempt is made but not completed due to

weakness
–If the patient does not respond to command, the task should be demonstrated to him or her (pantomime), and the result scored (i.e., follows 0, 1 or 2 commands)


  1. Best Gaze:

    0 = Normal
    1 = Partial gaze palsy: gaze is abnormal in one or both eyes, but forced deviation or total gaze paresis is not present
    2 = Forced deviation or total gaze paresis not overcome by the oculocephalic maneuver

    -Notes:
    –Only horizontal eye movements are tested
    –Voluntary or reflexive (oculocephalic) eye movements will be scored, but caloric testing is not done
    –If the patient has a conjugate deviation of the eyes that can be overcome by voluntary or reflexive activity, score “1”
    –If a patient has an isolated peripheral nerve paresis (CN III, IV or VI), score “1”
    –Gaze is testable in all aphasic patients
    –Patients with ocular trauma/bandages/pre-existing blindness/other visual acuity disorder should be tested with reflexive movements, and a choice made by the investigator
    –Establishing eye contact and then moving about the patient from side to side may clarify the presence of a partial gaze palsy


  1. Visual:

    0 = No visual loss
    1 = Partial hemianopia
    2 = Complete hemianopia.
    3 = Bilateral hemianopia (blind including cortical blindness)

    -Notes:
    –Visual fields (upper and lower quadrants) are tested by confrontation, using finger counting or visual threat, as appropriate
    –Patients may be encouraged, but if they look at the side of the moving fingers appropriately, this can be scored as normal
    –If there is unilateral blindness or enucleation, visual fields in the remaining eye are scored
    –Score “1” only if a clear-cut asymmetry (including quadrantanopia) is found
    –If patient is blind from any cause, score “3”
    –Double simultaneous stimulation is performed at this point
    –If there is extinction, patient receives a 1, and the results are used to respond to item 11


  1. Facial Palsy:
    -Ask – or use pantomime to encourage – the patient
    to show teeth or raise eyebrows and close eyes. Score symmetry of
    grimace in response to noxious stimuli in the poorly responsive or
    non-comprehending patient. If facial trauma/bandages, orotracheal
    tube, tape or other physical barriers obscure the face, these should
    be removed to the extent possible.
    0 = Normal symmetrical movements.
    1 = Minor paralysis (flattened nasolabial fold, asymmetry on
    smiling).
    2 = Partial paralysis (total or near-total paralysis of lower
    face).
    3 = Complete paralysis of one or both sides (absence of
    facial movement in the upper and lower face).

  1. Motor Arm:
    -The limb is placed in the appropriate position: extend
    the arms (palms down) 90 degrees (if sitting) or 45 degrees (if
    supine). Drift is scored if the arm falls before 10 seconds. The
    aphasic patient is encouraged using urgency in the voice and
    pantomime, but not noxious stimulation. Each limb is tested in turn,
    beginning with the non-paretic arm. Only in the case of amputation or
    joint fusion at the shoulder, the examiner should record the score as
    untestable (UN), and clearly write the explanation for this choice.
    0 = No drift; limb holds 90 (or 45) degrees for full 10 seconds.
    1 = Drift; limb holds 90 (or 45) degrees, but drifts down before
    full 10 seconds; does not hit bed or other support.
    2 = Some effort against gravity; limb cannot get to or
    maintain (if cued) 90 (or 45) degrees, drifts down to bed,
    but has some effort against gravity.
    3 = No effort against gravity; limb falls.
    4 = No movement.
    UN = Amputation or joint fusion, explain: _______

    5a. Left Arm

    5b. Right Arm


  1. Motor Leg:
    -The limb is placed in the appropriate position: hold
    the leg at 30 degrees (always tested supine). Drift is scored if the leg
    falls before 5 seconds. The aphasic patient is encouraged using
    urgency in the voice and pantomime, but not noxious stimulation.
    Each limb is tested in turn, beginning with the non-paretic leg. Only
    in the case of amputation or joint fusion at the hip, the examiner
    should record the score as untestable (UN), and clearly write the
    explanation for this choice

    0 = No drift; leg holds 30-degree position for full 5 seconds.
    1 = Drift; leg falls by the end of the 5-second period but does
    not hit bed.
    2 = Some effort against gravity; leg falls to bed by 5
    seconds, but has some effort against gravity.
    3 = No effort against gravity; leg falls to bed immediately.
    4 = No movement.
    UN = Amputation or joint fusion, explain: ____

6a. Left Leg

6b. Right Leg


  1. Limb Ataxia:
    -This item is aimed at finding evidence of a unilateral
    cerebellar lesion. Test with eyes open. In case of visual defect,
    ensure testing is done in intact visual field. The finger-nose-finger
    and heel-shin tests are performed on both sides, and ataxia is scored
    only if present out of proportion to weakness. Ataxia is absent in the
    patient who cannot understand or is paralyzed. Only in the case of
    amputation or joint fusion, the examiner should record the score as
    untestable (UN), and clearly write the explanation for this choice. In
    case of blindness, test by having the patient touch nose from
    extended arm position.

    0 = Absent
    1 = Present in one limb
    2 = Present in two limbs

    UN = Amputation or joint fusion, explain: ____


  1. Sensory:
    -Sensation or grimace to pinprick when tested, or
    withdrawal from noxious stimulus in the obtunded or aphasic patient.
    Only sensory loss attributed to stroke is scored as abnormal and the
    examiner should test as many body areas (arms [not hands], legs,
    trunk, face) as needed to accurately check for hemisensory loss. A
    score of 2, “severe or total sensory loss,” should only be given when
    a severe or total loss of sensation can be clearly demonstrated.
    Stuporous and aphasic patients will, therefore, probably score 1 or 0.
    The patient with brainstem stroke who has bilateral loss of sensation
    is scored 2. If the patient does not respond and is quadriplegic, score
  2. Patients in a coma (item 1a=3) are automatically given a 2 on this
    item.

    0 = Normal; no sensory loss
    1 = Mild-to-moderate sensory loss; patient feels pinprick is less sharp or is dull on the affected side; or there is a loss of superficial pain with pinprick, but patient is aware of being touched
    2 = Severe to total sensory loss; patient is not aware of being touched in the face, arm, and leg


  1. Best Language:

-A great deal of information about comprehension will be obtained during the preceding sections of the examination.

For this scale item, the patient is asked to describe what is happening in the attached picture, to name the items on the attached naming sheet and to read from the attached list of sentences. Comprehension is judged from responses here, as well as to all of
the commands in the preceding general neurological exam. If visual loss interferes with the tests, ask the patient to identify objects placed
in the hand, repeat, and produce speech. The intubated patient should be asked to write. The patient in a coma (item 1a=3) will automatically score 3 on this item. The examiner must choose a score for the patient with stupor or limited cooperation, but a score of 3 should be used only if the patient is mute and follows no one-step commands.

0 = No aphasia; normal
1 =  Mild-to-moderate aphasia; some obvious loss of fluency or facility of comprehension, without significant limitation on ideas expressed or form of expression.  Reduction of speech and/or comprehension, however, makes conversation about provided materials difficult or impossible.  For example, in conversation about provided materials, examiner can identify picture or naming card content from patient’s response
2 = Severe aphasia; all communication is through fragmentary expression; great need for inference, questioning, and guessing by the listener.  Range of information that can be exchanged is limited; listener carries burden of communication.  Examiner cannot identify materials provided from patient response. 
3 = Mute, global aphasia; no usable speech or auditory comprehension.

You know how.
Down to earth.
I got home from work.
Near the table in the dining room.
They heard him speak on the radio last night.
You know how.
Down to earth.
I got home from work.
Near the table in the dining room.
They heard him speak on the radio last night.


  1. Dysarthria: If patient is thought to be normal, an adequate
    sample of speech must be obtained by asking patient to read or
    repeat words from the attached list. If the patient has severe
    aphasia, the clarity of articulation of spontaneous speech can be
    rated. Only if the patient is intubated or has other physical barriers to
    producing speech, the examiner should record the score as
    untestable (UN), and clearly write an explanation for this choice. Do
    not tell the patient why he or she is being tested.
    0 = Normal.
    1 = Mild-to-moderate dysarthria; patient slurs at least some
    words and, at worst, can be understood with some
    difficulty.
    2 = Severe dysarthria; patient’s speech is so slurred as to be
    unintelligible in the absence of or out of proportion to
    any dysphasia, or is mute/anarthric.
    UN = Intubated or other physical barrier,
    explain:_________

MAMA
TIP – TOP
FIFTY – FIFTY
THANKS
HUCKLEBERRY
BASEBALL PLAYER


  1. Extinction and Inattention (formerly Neglect): Sufficient
    information to identify neglect may be obtained during the prior
    testing. If the patient has a severe visual loss preventing visual
    double simultaneous stimulation, and the cutaneous stimuli are
    normal, the score is normal. If the patient has aphasia but does
    appear to attend to both sides, the score is normal. The presence of
    visual spatial neglect or anosagnosia may also be taken as evidence
    of abnormality. Since the abnormality is scored only if present, the
    item is never untestable.
    0 = No abnormality.

    1 = Visual, tactile, auditory, spatial, or personal inattention
    or extinction to bilateral simultaneous stimulation in one
    of the sensory modalities.

    2 = Profound hemi-inattention or extinction to more than
    one modality; does not recognize own hand or orients
    to only one side of space.