Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Center score

Last revised by Ali Alsmair on 16 Mar 2022

The Brain and Spinal Injury Center (BASIC) score is a classification system for grading acute traumatic spinal cord injury based on the axial extent of intramedullary signal abnormality on T2 weighted MRI.


The BASIC score is an ordinal scale that is graded 0 to 4 1:

  • BASIC 0 (normal): no cord signal abnormality
  • BASIC 1 (grey matter only): T2 hyperintensity confined to grey matter
  • BASIC 2 (some white matter): intramedullary T2 hyperintensity extends beyond expected grey matter margins to involve spinal white matter, but does not involve the entire transverse extent of the spinal cord
  • BASIC 3 (all white matter in-plane): T2 hyperintensity involving the entire axial plane of the spinal cord
  • BASIC 4 (with hemorrhage): grade 3 injury with the addition of foci of T2 hypointensity consistent with hemorrhage

BASIC score 0-2 injuries with hemorrhage are elevated by one grade 1.


The BASIC score correlates with neurological symptoms (ASIA Impairment Scale) as well as prognosis for short-term improvement 1-3 and ability to walk after a year 4.

The interrater agreement has been good or poor in different studies 1,5.

The BASIC score is one component of the US National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) common data elements instrument for spinal cord injury research 5.

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