Home About AAAM AIS AAAM Members Educational / Scientific Conferences Public Policy Links Contact Us

About AIS

The Abbreviated Injury Scale (AIS) incorporates current medical terminology providing an internationally accepted tool for ranking injury severity. The AIS© is an anatomically based, consensus derived, global severity scoring system that classifies an individual injury by body region according to its relative severity on a 6 point scale. The AIS© 2005 Update 2008 is protected by copyright, and both individual use and site licenses can be purchased.

What is the Abbreviated Injury Scale (AIS)?

The Abbreviated Injury Scale ( AIS©) is an anatomically based, consensus derived, global severity scoring system that classifies each injury by body region according to its relative importance on a 6-point ordinal scale (1=minor and 6=maximal). AIS© is the basis for the Injury Severity Score (ISS) calculation of the multiply injured patient.

The AIS provides standardized terminology to describe injuries and ranks injuries by severity. Current AIS users include, health organizations for clinical trauma management, outcome evaluation and for case mix adjustment purposes; motor vehicle crash investigators to identify mechanism of injury and improve vehicle design; and researchers for epidemiological studies and systems development, all of which may influence public policy (laws and regulations).

Some users are interested in its standardized injury descriptor capabilities; some are interested only in its injury severity assessment; and some in both. The AIS Uses and Techniques course allows people to learn how to correctly code injuries according to established rules and guidelines, which increases interrater reliability worldwide.

Health and research records of all types may be coded in a prospective manner. AIS codes may be assigned using algorithms that map other commonly used disease and injury codes — such as the WHO-originated International Classification of Diseases. Some of these maps have been programmed into trauma registry and medical record software, and may be proprietary tools. Some others have been made available by the original developers.


In 1973, the Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine (AAAM) assumed the lead role for continuing the development of a scale to classify injuries and their severity, originally begun by a joint committee of the American Medical Association (AMA), Society of Automotive Engineers and the AAAM in 1969. The first scale was published in 1971 in the Journal of the AMA, titled: “Rating the Severity of Tissue Damage – The Abbreviated Injury Scale”. Publication of the 1980 revision of the AIS was enthusiastically embraced by the trauma research community as a useful and reliable injury assessment tool. Today, the AIS is the global system of choice for injury data collection and has become the basis for a number of derivative scales in use (e.g., Injury Severity Score, TRISS, ASCOT). Over the years, the AIS has been translated into French, German, Italian, Chinese, Spanish, and Japanese.

The AIS has been continuously improved since its inception. The current edition, AIS© 2005 Update 2008, represents a five-year revision process involving hundreds of contributors in the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and numerous European countries. The AIS© 2005 Update 2008 is significant in its total restructuring of injury classifications for both upper and lower extremities, and the pelvis, body regions that are significant in nonfatal long-term impairment and disability. The new classifications give in-depth researchers and investigators a tool to record injuries in these body regions with greater precision and detail. Click Here for additional guidelines for correct coding using AIS 2005 Update 2008.






Copyright © 2015 AAAM, all rights reserved | Privacy Policy

Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine | 35 E Wacker Drive Ste. 850 Chicago, Illinois 60601 USA | P. 847-844-3880 | F. 312-644-8557