Head Injury in Older Adults: To Scan or Not to Scan? Ten Tips to Make the Best Decision

Volume 4 | Issue 2 | Article 5 - Topic Supplement | Trauma Series

Audrey-Anne Brousseau, MD, Eric Mercier, MD
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Ground-level falls are a leading cause of emergency department (ED) visits by older adults. In addition to understanding the cause of the fall, the assessment of potential fall-induced injuries such as traumatic intracranial hemorrhage, can be highly challenging for emergency clinicians. Premorbid conditions, medications and concomitant injuries can all interfere with the physical examination and impact the prevalence of signs traditionally associated with traumatic brain injury (TBI). When it comes to the decision to potentially investigate for a traumatic intracranial hemorrhage with a brain imaging such as a head computed tomography (CT), many potential predictors and factors will be considered. Symptoms, history, medications, frailty, functional status, level of care, cost and access to imaging will all potentially influence that decision-making process. This brief review article will help make that decision in the interest of the patient and the health care system.

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