The primary purpose of the development of this scoring system was to allow physicians to evaluate a patient's ability to survive chemotherapy for cancer. It is named after Dr. David A. Karnofsky, who described the scale with Dr. Walter H. Abelmann, Dr. Lloyd F. Craver, and Dr. Joseph H. Burchenal in 1948.
A score between 0 and 100 is assigned by a health professional after watching a patient perform common tasks. Decreasing numbers mean that the patient has less ability to perform activities of daily living: a score of 100 means that the patient has normal physical abilities with no signs of disease; a score of 0 means that the patient is dead.
100 - Normal; no complaints; no evidence of disease.
90 - Able to carry on normal activity; minor signs or symptoms of disease.
80 - Normal activity with effort; some signs or symptoms of disease.
70 - Cares for self; unable to carry on normal activity or to do active work.
60 - Requires occasional assistance, but is able to care for most of their personal needs.
50 - Requires considerable assistance and frequent medical care.
40 - Disabled; requires special care and assistance.
30 - Severely disabled; hospital admission is indicated although death not imminent.
20 - Very sick; hospital admission necessary; active supportive treatment necessary.
10 - Moribund; fatal processes progressing rapidly.
0 - Dead
See also Performance scales: Karnofsky & ECOG Scores
Adapted from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Internet. Accessed on January 18, 2016.