ASIA impairment scale

The ASIA impairment scale describes a person’s functional impairment as a result of their spinal cord injury.

ASIA standard neurological classification

The American Spinal Injury Association (ASIA) Standard Neurological Classification of Spinal Cord Injury is a standard method of assessing the neurological status of a person who has sustained a spinal cord injury.

Scale assessments are usually carried out by specialist medical staff at the hospital the person is admitted to, using this ASIA Impairment Scale worksheet (PDF 285K).

It is important to include the score on the ASIA impairment scale in the referral for a spinal injured client. This score can usually be found in the medical notes of a client who has been admitted into either of the spinal units.

The five categories of the ASIA impairment scale

Category

Description

A = Complete

No motor or sensory function (for definitions, see note below) is preserved in the sacral segments S4-S5

B = Incomplete

Sensory but not motor function is preserved below the neurological level and includes the sacral segments S4-S5

C = Incomplete

Motor function is preserved below the neurological level, and more than half of key muscles below the neurological level have a muscle grade of less than 3

D = Incomplete

Motor function is preserved below the neurological level, and at least half of the key muscles below the neurological level have a muscle grade of 3 or more

E = Normal

Motor and sensory function are normal.

Note:
‘Loss of motor function’ means a person has no voluntary control of their muscles. ‘Loss of sensory function’ means a person has no sense of touch and cannot feel hot or cold, pain, or pressure. They also have no sense of where in space their limbs are.

Last updated: 13 March 2014

Last reviewed: 13 March 2014