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  • Most people receive a score 0 after taking the NIH stroke scale. Scores as low as one to four could indicate a mild stroke.
  • The highest possible score is 42¬†which would obviously be consistent with a profound stroke.
  • The NIH stroke scale can be administered in less than 10 minutes in skilled hands.
  • * If an arm or leg cannot be tested due to amputation or other limitation, untestable is recorded and no points are counted.
  • NIH Stroke scores > 22 are considered very significant and may predict increased complication risk.
  • The score is commonly used to track outcomes, improvement or deterioration of a stroke.


  1. Stroke. 1994 Nov;25(11):2220-6. Improved reliability of the NIH Stroke Scale using video training. NINDS TPA Stroke Study Group. Lyden P1, Brott T, Tilley B, Welch KM, Mascha EJ, Levine S, Haley EC, Grotta J, Marler J.
  2. NIH Stroke Scale reliability in ratings from a large sample of clinicians. Josephson SA, Hills NK, Johnston SC. Cerebrovasc Dis. 2006; 22(5-6):389-95.
  3. Brott T, Adams HP Jr, Olinger CP, et. al. Measurements of acute cerebral infarction: a clinical examination scale. Stroke. 1989 Jul;20(7):864-70.

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