ABC's of Geriatric Trauma

Volume 4 | Issue 1 | Article 4 - Topic Supplement | Trauma Series

Teresita Hogan, MD, FACEP
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Geriatric trauma is a major cause of death and disability and results in three million annual ED visits.1 By 2050, over 40% of all trauma cases will be geriatric.2 Injury severity in these patients is high and disproportionate to mechanism.3 Ground-level falls are the principal cause of geriatric trauma resulting in 80% of geriatric trauma admissions.4 Worldwide, falls are the second leading cause of death.5 Age alone is a weak predictor of mortality.6 Yet age over 70 years is associated with worse outcomes.7,8 The vast numbers of older patients with major traumatic injuries demand every emergency department optimize the complex delivery of care required for these patients.

Improved geriatric polytrauma survival indicates the need for early aggressive treatment.9 Geriatric trauma mortality is less at trauma centers.10 Centers with higher geriatric trauma volumes provide improved outcomes.11,12 Specialized geriatric trauma care improves independence and preserves social function even in octogenarian patients.13 Up to 66% of older adult patients are discharged home after the trauma hospitalization.14 After a stay in acute care facilities, 90% of elder trauma patients go home.15 Do not use age alone to limit care.16

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