Severely Injured Geriatric Population: Morbidity, Mortality, and Risk Factors
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BACKGROUND: With an increasing life expectancy and more active elderly population, management of geriatric trauma patients continues to evolve. The aim was to describe the mechanism and injuries of severely injured geriatric patients and to identify risk factors associated with mortality. METHODS: The Trauma Registry at a Canadian Level I trauma center was queried for all trauma patients older than 65 years and injury severity score >15 from 2004 to 2006, resulting in a retrospective chart review of 276 patients. The data were subsequently analyzed using univariate and multivariate analysis. RESULTS: Average age was 81.5 years (mean injury severity score of 25). Most common comorbid illness was hypertension (57.3%) and most frequent mechanism of injury was falls (72.3%). The overall mortality was comparable with the US National Trauma Data Bank (26.8% vs. 32.0%, confidence interval, 0.00-0.10). Geriatric patients requiring intubation, blood transfusions, or suffering from head, C-spine, or chest trauma had an increased likelihood of death. In-hospital respiratory, gastrointestinal, or infectious complications also had higher likelihood of death. CONCLUSIONS: Falls continue to be the most frequent mechanism of injury in severely injured geriatric patients. Risk factors associated with a higher likelihood of death are identified. More research is needed to better understand this important and increasing group of trauma patients.
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