Cervical Injury Outcomes Among Older Adults Admitted To An Inpatient Trauma Service

V Moran, T Pulliam, M Rodin,C Freeman, H Israel


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Objective: Older adults are an increasing proportion of patients admitted to trauma services. Trauma in older adults' results from many mechanisms of injury with the distribution of mechanisms of injury among older adults different than those of younger adults. The acute management of these injuries may determine the patients' ability to return to independent living. It is known that prolonged immobilization of older patients results in deterioration of their functional status and increases the likelihood of hospital acquired complications, notably pneumonia, delirium, and loss of ambulation. Design/Setting: We reviewed 213 patients aged 65 and older admitted to our trauma services who sustained cervical spine injuries that were either placed in c spine immobilization or were not to understand the outcomes associated with their mechanism of injury. Results: The youngest patients (65-74 years) were proportionately more likely to have sustained high energy injuries associated with motor vehicle crashes (36%) with a mortality rate of 11.5%. The oldest age group (> 85 years) had a higher mortality rate from falls from standing injuries (31%). Patients discharged with a collar were more likely to return to independent living. In addition, 96% of the patients that died in the acute care setting were not in cervical collar immobilization. Conclusion; Patients under 85 years with a cervical spine injury should be placed in c-spine immobilization and aggressively managed with a multidisciplinary team approach. The older adult trauma population requires specialty care including rapid cervical spine evaluation and prescreening of functional status on admission. The NEXUS guideline should be enhanced for the older adult trauma population.
Cervical injuries, older adults, multidisciplinary team
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