Geriatric Trauma

Geriatric Trauma is a topic covered in the 5-Minute Emergency Consult.

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  • Geriatric specific considerations and approach to the elderly trauma patient
  • Should be used in conjunction with the accepted standard treatment of traumatic injuries (see trauma, multiple)
  • Advanced age is a known risk factor for adverse outcomes following trauma
  • Generally age >65, age not well defined, difficult to target due to discrepancies between physiologic and chronologic age in individuals


Incidence and Prevalence Estimates


Most common mechanisms:
  • Falls—most common cause of injury in patients of age >65, often occurs on an even, flat surface
  • Motor vehicle crashes—2nd leading cause, most common fatal etiology
  • Pedestrian—motor vehicle collisions, diminished cognitive skills, poor vision/hearing, impaired gait contribute to increased incidence
  • Burns—higher fatality rate than young adults with same extent of burn
  • Violence—less common mechanism than in younger ages, have heightened suspicion for elderly abuse, an under recognized issue
  • Elderly more susceptible to serious injury from low-energy mechanisms

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