A new tool to assess responsiveness in disorders of consciousness (DoC): a preliminary study on the Brief Post-Coma Scale (BPCS)

on the behalf of the Italian National Consortium on Functioning and Disability in Disorders of Consciousness Patients

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: The Brief Post-Coma Scale (BPCS) is an easy diagnostic tool for individuals with disorders of consciousness (DoC), in a reduced version from a previously Post-Coma Scale, that could distinguish patients in the minimally conscious state (MCS) from those in unresponsive wakefulness syndrome (UWS), formerly defined as vegetative state (VS). Objective: Aim of the study was to assess the diagnostic validity of the BPCS in comparison with the Coma Recovery Scale-Revised (CRS-R), in its Italian validated version, the Disability Rating Scale (DRS), the Level of Cognitive Functioning (LCF), and the Glasgow Outcome Scale (GOS). Methods: In an Italian multicenter study on 545 patients with DoC, 36 post-acute rehabilitation wards, 32 long-term care centers, and 2 family associations participated to data collection. Results: Statistically significant correlations were found between the BPCS and the other clinical scales: R = 0.586 (p < 0.001) with LCF, R = − 0.566 (p < 0.001) with DRS, R = 0.622 (p < 0.001) with CRS-R. The BPCS scores resulted significantly correlated with the time from acute event (R = 0.117, p = 0.006). Patients with GOS score 2 had mean BPCS of 1.84 ± 1.19, whereas those with GOS 3 had significantly higher scores 3.88 ± 1.71 (p < 0.001). Similarly, in patients with vegetative state/UWS (VS/UWS), the mean BPSC score was 1.71 ± 1.09, significantly lower (p < 0.001) than that of patients with minimally conscious state (BPCS = 3.83 ± 1.29). Finally, the agreement of the BPCS and clinical diagnosis was of 84.4%, with an odds ratio OR = 3.781 (95% CI = 3.026–4.725, p < 0.001). Conclusions: The BPCS has demonstrated statistically significant correlations with the most commonly used scales in persons with DoC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalNeurological Sciences
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jun 15 2018


  • Brief Post-Coma Scale
  • Coma Recovery Scale-Revised
  • Disorders of consciousness
  • Outcome evaluation scales

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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