Cincinnati Stroke Scales

Enhance your stroke assessment accuracy with the Cincinnati Stroke Scale. This reliable tool assists healthcare professionals in improving patient outcomes.

By Joshua Napilay on Jun 20, 2024.

Fact Checked by Ericka Pingol.

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What is a Cincinnati Stroke Scale?

The Cincinnati Stroke Scale (CSS) is a widely used clinical tool designed to help healthcare professionals rapidly identify potential stroke symptoms in patients. This tool is of utmost importance as it can detect possible stroke cases promptly, resulting in prompt medical intervention and treatment, thereby reducing the severity of the stroke and its long-term effects.

The CSS assesses three critical indicators associated with stroke: facial droop, arm weakness, and speech impairment. These symptoms indicate possible neurological damage and are commonly observed in stroke patients. The scale involves a simple examination where medical practitioners assess the patient's ability to perform specific actions such as smiling, raising both arms, and speaking clearly.

Each of these actions is assigned a score based on the severity of the impairment. The collective score assists healthcare providers in determining the likelihood of a stroke event and the urgency of medical attention required.

Healthcare professionals should be familiar with the CSS since timely identification and treatment of stroke symptoms can save lives. An explainer video can help healthcare professionals understand and implement the Cincinnati Stroke Scale effectively. Watch the video here:

For more comprehensive information and resources on clinical documentation, including details about the , healthcare providers may visit Carepatron. Carepatron offers a range of tools and materials to assist healthcare providers in maintaining accurate and up-to-date patient records, enhancing communication among medical teams, and, ultimately, delivering better patient care.

Carepatron's resources, which are designed to be user-friendly, include step-by-step guides, templates, and checklists that healthcare providers can easily incorporate into their practice.

Printable Cincinnati Stroke Scale

Download this Cincinnati Stroke Scale to assess patients effectively.

How does it work?

The Cincinnati Stroke Scale (CSS) is a systematic tool for assessing potential stroke symptoms in patients. It involves several steps that healthcare professionals follow to quickly evaluate three key indicators: facial droop, arm weakness, and speech impairment. These steps are designed to efficiently identify signs of stroke and determine the urgency of medical intervention.

Facial Droop Assessment

Check the patient's face for any asymmetry. Ask them to smile or show their teeth. Note any sagging or drooping on one side of the face.

Arm Weakness Evaluation

Instruct the patient to raise both arms straight out in front of them, palms facing upward. Observe if one arm drifts downward or cannot be held up equally.

Speech Impairment Examination

Ask the patient to repeat phrases like "The sky is blue." Pay attention to slurred speech, difficulty forming words, or confusion in their response.


Assign a score for each of the three indicators based on the severity of impairment. Typically, a score of 0 indicates normal function, while 1 indicates mild impairment, and 2 indicates severe impairment.

Total Score Calculation

Sum up the scores from the three indicators. The total score can range from 0 to 6.


A higher total score indicates a higher likelihood of stroke symptoms. A score of 2 or more suggests the possibility of a stroke and warrants immediate medical attention.

Medical Intervention

Based on the total score and the severity of symptoms, healthcare providers can make informed decisions about treatment and the need for further diagnostic tests, such as brain imaging.

Cincinnati Stroke Scales Example (sample)

Imagine a patient presenting with sudden facial drooping on one side, an inability to raise their left arm properly, and slurred speech when asked to repeat a simple phrase. By using the Cincinnati Stroke Scale (CSS), healthcare professionals can systematically evaluate these symptoms. In this case, the patient's CSS scores might be 1 for facial droop, 1 for arm weakness, and 1 for speech impairment. The total score would be 3. This collective score prompts immediate concern, indicating potential stroke symptoms.

Healthcare providers can swiftly initiate necessary interventions, such as brain imaging, to confirm the diagnosis and implement appropriate treatment. A printable Cincinnati Stroke Scales PDF ensures consistent and efficient assessments, contributing to the timely recognition and management of stroke cases.

Download this Cincinnati Stroke Scale Example:

Cincinnati Stroke Scales Example (sample)

When would you use this Form?

The Cincinnati Stroke Scale (CSS) form is an invaluable resource for healthcare practitioners, enabling them to swiftly assess potential stroke symptoms and determine the urgency of medical intervention. This tool is handy in the following scenarios:

  • Emergency Room Triage: During patient intake in the emergency room, CSS is crucial to identify stroke symptoms quickly. The form aids in determining the severity of the facial droop, arm weakness, and speech impairment, allowing for rapid decision-making on further diagnostic tests and treatment options.
  • Pre-Hospital Care: Paramedics and emergency medical personnel can use the CSS form to perform initial stroke assessments at the scene. This early evaluation guides them in prioritizing patients and choosing appropriate treatment destinations.
  • Inpatient Settings: CSS monitors patients with neurological conditions or those at risk of stroke in hospital wards. Regular assessments help detect any sudden deterioration in symptoms, prompting timely interventions.
  • Telemedicine Consultations: CSS can be used during virtual consultations, enabling remote healthcare providers to assess stroke symptoms in patients, even from a distance. This aids in triaging patients for immediate care or advising them to seek in-person medical attention.
  • Training and Education: CSS forms are valuable tools for training healthcare students and professionals to recognize stroke symptoms accurately. Simulated assessments using the form enhance their ability to identify subtle stroke indicators and respond appropriately.
  • Rehabilitation Settings: CSS can be used to track the progress of patients undergoing rehabilitation after a stroke event. Regular assessments help healthcare providers gauge recovery and adjust treatment plans as needed.
  • Long-Term Care Facilities: For patients residing in long-term care facilities, CSS forms assist healthcare staff in routine assessments. This ensures that any new stroke symptoms are promptly identified and addressed.


Early Stroke Detection

The Cincinnati Stroke Scale (CSS) form enables early identification of stroke symptoms, facilitating rapid medical intervention and improving the chances of a positive patient outcome.

Standardized Assessment

By providing a structured framework, CSS ensures consistent and standardized stroke assessments across various healthcare settings, reducing the risk of oversight or misinterpretation.

Quick Decision-Making

The form's simple scoring system allows healthcare professionals to quickly evaluate and interpret stroke symptoms. This aids in making timely decisions about further diagnostics and treatment strategies.

Enhanced Communication

CSS is a common language for healthcare teams, ensuring effective communication about a patient's condition, essential for collaborative care planning.

Training and Education

The availability of free Cincinnati Stroke Scales online fosters healthcare training and education. Students and professionals can practice assessments and refine their skills using these resources.

Resource Efficiency

Utilizing the CSS form reduces the time spent on assessing stroke symptoms. This efficiency allows healthcare providers to allocate more time to crucial interventions and patient care.

Improved Patient Outcomes

By accurately identifying stroke symptoms and initiating prompt treatment, using CSS contributes to better patient outcomes, reduced disability, and potentially faster recovery.

The Cincinnati Stroke Scale form's benefits extend across diverse healthcare scenarios, making it an essential tool for healthcare practitioners and improving the overall quality of stroke care.

Research & Evidence

The Cincinnati Stroke Scale (CSS) originates from pioneering stroke research conducted by Dr. Joseph P. Broderick and colleagues at the University of Cincinnati during the early 1990s. The team recognized the critical need for a rapid and reliable method to assess stroke symptoms, especially in the pre-hospital setting where time is of the essence. This led to the development of the CSS, a concise and effective tool designed to be administered by healthcare professionals with varying levels of neurology expertise.

The CSS's validity and utility have been extensively explored through research endeavors. A landmark study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2003, known as the "Cincinnati Prehospital Stroke Scale: Reproducibility and Validity," demonstrated the CSS's high sensitivity and specificity in identifying stroke symptoms. This research solidified the CSS's reputation as a valuable tool for stroke assessment.

Moreover, the CSS has been incorporated into the American Heart Association's (AHA) guidelines for stroke care. This endorsement reflects the scale's proven effectiveness and underscores its significance in clinical practice. Its inclusion in the AHA guidelines has encouraged healthcare providers worldwide to utilize the CSS for swift and accurate stroke symptom evaluation.

Further studies have highlighted the CSS's capacity to predict specific stroke subtypes, such as large vessel occlusions, which require urgent interventions like mechanical thrombectomy. This specialization enhances the scale's relevance in modern stroke care, aligning with contemporary treatment approaches.

The CSS's history is deeply rooted in pioneering stroke research led by Dr. Broderick and his team. Its efficacy and clinical relevance have been firmly established through rigorous studies, culminating in its integration into respected medical guidelines. The CSS continues to be an indispensable tool, playing a pivotal role in identifying stroke symptoms and expediting appropriate medical interventions.

Why use Carepatron as your Cincinnati Stroke app?

When it comes to efficiently and effectively managing Cincinnati Stroke Scales assessments, Carepatron emerges as the ideal platform for healthcare professionals. Here's why:

  • Tailored for Stroke Assessment: Carepatron is designed to accommodate Cincinnati Stroke Scales assessments seamlessly. Its intuitive interface guides users through the assessment process, ensuring accurate and consistent evaluations.
  • Streamlined Documentation: The platform simplifies the documentation of CSS scores, making it effortless for healthcare providers to record and track patient assessments. This eliminates manual paperwork, reduces errors, and enhances data accuracy.
  • Real-time Tracking: Carepatron allows real-time tracking of patients' CSS scores over time. This feature aids in monitoring changes in symptoms and adjusting treatment plans accordingly, promoting personalized care.
  • Secure Data Management: Data security is paramount in healthcare. Carepatron employs robust security measures to safeguard patient information, ensuring compliance with privacy regulations and maintaining confidentiality.
  • Collaborative Care: The platform fosters collaboration among healthcare teams. Carepatron enables instant sharing of CSS assessment data, promoting seamless communication and informed decision-making.
  • Integration with Workflows: Carepatron is designed to integrate with existing healthcare workflows. This compatibility minimizes disruption to established practices while enhancing the efficiency of stroke assessment procedures.
  • Evidence-based Insights: Carepatron provides evidence-based insights derived from aggregated CSS data. These insights can assist healthcare organizations in identifying trends, improving stroke care protocols, and optimizing patient outcomes.
  • Accessibility: As a cloud-based platform, Carepatron can be accessed from anywhere, making it convenient for healthcare professionals conducting assessments in various settings, including emergency rooms, clinics, and telemedicine consultations.

Carepatron is a tailored, secure, and collaborative solution in Cincinnati Stroke Scales assessments. Its user-friendly interface, data management capabilities, and integration with established workflows make it an essential tool for accurate stroke symptom evaluations and improved patient care.

Clinical Documentation Software


Furst, J. (2023, April 11). What is the Cincinnati Prehospital Stroke Scale (CPSS)? - First Aid for Free. First Aid for Free.

Katz, B., McMullan, J. T., Sucharew, H., Adeoye, O., & Broderick, J. P. (2015). Design and validation of a prehospital scale to predict stroke severity. Stroke, 46(6), 1508–1512.

Kothari, R., Pancioli, A., Liu, T., Brott, T. G., & Broderick, J. P. (1999). Cincinnati prehospital stroke scale: reproducibility and validity. Annals of Emergency Medicine, 33(4), 373–378.

Tarkanyi, G., Csecsei, P., Szegedi, I., Fehér, E., Annus, Á., Molnar, T., & Szekeres, L. (2020). Detailed severity assessment of Cincinnati Prehospital Stroke Scale to detect large vessel occlusion in acute ischemic stroke. BMC Emergency Medicine, 20(1).

Zohrevandi, B. (2015, January 1). Diagnostic Accuracy of Cincinnati Pre-Hospital Stroke Scale. PubMed Central (PMC).,positive%20result%20of%20Cincinnati%20scale.

Who typically uses Cincinnati Stroke Scales?
Who typically uses Cincinnati Stroke Scales?

Commonly asked questions

Who typically uses Cincinnati Stroke Scales?

Healthcare professionals, including emergency medical personnel, nurses, doctors, and neurologists, typically use Cincinnati Stroke Scales to assess potential stroke symptoms in patients.

When are Cincinnati Stroke Scales used?

Cincinnati Stroke Scales are used when there is suspicion of stroke symptoms, such as sudden facial drooping, arm weakness, or speech impairment. They are employed to quickly identify stroke cases and determine the urgency of medical intervention.

How are Cincinnati Stroke Scales used?

Healthcare providers use the Cincinnati Stroke Scale to assess facial droop, arm weakness, and speech impairment. Scores are assigned to each indicator to determine the likelihood of stroke symptoms and the need for immediate medical attention. It's used in various settings, including emergency and telemedicine consultations.

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