Abbreviated Injury Scale

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Abbreviated Injury Scale
PurposeClassify and describe the severity of injuries.
Test ofThreat to life

The Abbreviated Injury Scale (AIS) is an anatomical-based coding system created by the Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine to classify and describe the severity of injuries.[1][2][3] It represents the threat to life associated with the injury rather than the comprehensive assessment of the severity of the injury.[4] AIS is one of the most common anatomic scales for traumatic injuries.[5]


The first version of the scale was published in 1969[6] with major updates in 1976, 1980, 1985, 1990, 1998, 2005, 2008[7] and 2015.[8]


The score describes three aspects of the injury using seven numbers written as 12(34)(56).7[4]

  • Type
  • Location
  • Severity

Each number signifies

  • 1- body region
  • 2- type of anatomical structure
  • 3,4- specific anatomical structure
  • 5,6- level
  • 7- Severity of score
1. Body region
AIS Code Region
1 Head
2 Face
3 Neck
4 Thorax
5 Abdomen
6 Spine
7 Upper Extremity
8 Lower Extremity
9 Unspecified
2. Type of Anatomic Structure
AIS Code Region
1 Whole Area
2 Vessels
3 Nerves
4 Organs (inc. muscles/ligaments)
5 Skeletal (inc. joints)
6 Loss of Consciousness (head only)
3/4 Specific Anatomic Structure
Whole Area
AIS Code Region
02 Skin Abrasion
04 Contusion
06 Laceration
08 Avulsion
10 Amputation
20 Burn
30 Crush
40 Degloving
50 Injury - NFS
60 Penetrating
Head - Loss of Consciousness (LOC)
02 Length of loss of consciousness
04-08 Level of consciousness
10 Concussion
02 Cervical
04 Thoracic
06 Lumbar
Vessels, Nerves, Organs, Bones, Joints
02 Vessels
04 Nerves
06 Organs
08 Bones
10 Joints
5/6 Level
Specific Injuries are assigned consecutive two-digit numbers beginning with 02

Fractures, rupture, laceration, etc.


Abbreviated Injury Score-Code is on a scale of one to six, one being a minor injury and six being maximal (currently untreatable).[1] An AIS-Code of 6 is not the arbitrary code for a deceased patient or fatal injury, but the code for injuries specifically assigned an AIS 6 severity.[1] An AIS-Code of 9 is used to describe injuries for which not enough information is available for more detailed coding, e.g. crush injury to the head.

The AIS scale is a measurement tool for single injuries. A universally accepted injury aggregation function has not yet been proposed, though the injury severity score and its derivatives are better aggregators for use in clinical settings.[1][5] In other settings such as automotive design and occupant protection, MAIS is a useful tool for the comparison of specific injuries and their relative severity and the changes in those frequencies that may result from evolving motor vehicle design.[1]

Abbreviated injury Score
AIS-Code Injury Example AIS % prob. of death
1 Minor superficial laceration 0.1-1
2 Moderate fractured sternum 1-2
3 Serious open fracture of humerus 2-16
4 Severe perforated trachea 16-30
5 Critical ruptured liver with tissue loss 30-99
6 Fatal total severance of aorta 100
9 Not further specified (NFS)

Usage in the European Union[edit]

The European union defined the MAIS3+ as the maximum abbreviated injury scale (MAIS) with a score of 3 or more. The definition was used to harmonize count of serious injuries or serious road injury in different member States (see Killed or Seriously Injured). Since 2017 Valletta Council conclusions on road safety, States started collecting those numbers. This need use of hospital data rather than police data.[9]

Patients often have more than one injury. The Maximum Abbreviated Injury Score (MAIS) is the highest AIS score of all injuries of a person. A road casualty with a MAIS score of 3 or more is referred to as MAIS3+

— European Road Safety Observatory.[10]

Those data can be computed in three different ways:[9]

  1. with a link between police and hospital data;
  2. reporting injuries from hospitals;
  3. using police data with a corrective coefficient computed from samples

Previously each State had a different definition of a serious injury.[11]

It has been estimated that 110,000 people were seriously injured in traffic collisions on the roads of European Union member States in 2019, based on MAIS3+ definition.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Gennarelli, Thomas A.; Wodzin, Elaine (December 1, 2006). "AIS 2005: A contemporary injury scale". Injury. 37 (12): 1083–1091. doi:10.1016/j.injury.2006.07.009. PMID 17092503 – via
  2. ^ Lesko MM, Woodford M, White L, O'Brien SJ, Childs C, Lecky FE (2010). "Using Abbreviated Injury Scale (AIS) codes to classify Computed Tomography (CT) features in the Marshall System". BMC Med Res Methodol. 10: 72. doi:10.1186/1471-2288-10-72. PMC 2927606. PMID 20691038.
  3. ^ "Abbreviated Injury Scale". Archived from the original on 6 January 2011. Retrieved 2011-01-23.
  4. ^ a b Abbreviated injury scale. University of Chicago: American Association for Automotive Medicine. 1985. p. 80.
  5. ^ a b Andrew B. Peitzman; Michael Rhodes; C. William Schwab; Donald M. Yealy; Timothy C. Fabian (2002). The Trauma Manual. Hagerstwon, MD: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. pp. 29–30. ISBN 0-7817-2641-7.
  6. ^ John D. States: The Abbreviated and the Comprehensive Research Injury Scales. In: STAPP Car Crash Journal. 13, Society of Automotive Engineers, Inc., New York 1969, ISSN 1532-8546, S. 282–294, LCCN 67-22372.
  7. ^ "AAAM's Abbreviated Injury Scale". Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine. Archived from the original on 2014-03-28. Retrieved 2014-03-27.
  8. ^ "AIS 2015 Released". Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine. Retrieved 2016-11-30.
  9. ^ a b European Commission (2021) Road safety thematic report – Serious injuries. European Road Safety Observatory. Brussels, European Commission, Directorate General for Transport.
  10. ^ a b European Commission (2023) Facts and Figures Serious injuries. European Road Safety Observatory. Brussels, European Commission, Directorate General for Transport.
  11. ^ European Commission, Serious Injuries, European Commission, Directorate General for Transport, September 2015.

External links[edit]