National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS)

Purpose of the measure

The National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) is a 15-item impairment scale, intended to evaluate neurologic outcome and degree of recovery for patients with stroke. The scale assesses level of consciousness, extraocular movements, visual fields, facial muscle function, extremity strength, sensory function, coordination (ataxia), language (aphasia), speech (dysarthria), and hemi-inattention (neglect) (Lyden, Lu, & Jackson, 1999; Lyden, Lu, & Levine, 2001). The NIHSS was designed to assess differences in interventions in clinical trials, although its use is increasing in patient care as an initial assessment tool and in planning postacute care disposition (Schlegel et al., 2003; Schlegel, Tanne, Demchuk, Levine, & Kasner, 2004).

Author*: Lisa Zeltzer, MSc OT;
Editors: Nicol Korner-Bitensky, PhD OT; Elissa Sitcoff, BA BSc
Content consistency: Gabriel Plumier

Evidence reviewed as of before 19-08-2008

NOTE: *The authors have no direct financial interest in any tools,
tests or interventions presented in StrokEngine.