Trauma in the Elderly

Trauma outcomes are worse in elderly patients, with one poorly controlled retrospective study suggesting that “elderly” trauma patients are six times as likely to die. [Osler T et al. Am J Surg 156: 537, 1998] This study was complicated by the fact that the “elderly” cohort suffered different injuries than the control group.

It is difficult to make broad recommendations for the management of trauma elderly patients, as their functional capacity/reserve is likely more variant than their younger counterparts. Also, there is some belief that age in and of itself is not a risk factor for poor surgical outcomes, but rather the diseases that seem to accompany age. [citation needed]

In general, however, it is thought that elderly patients have decreased cardiopulmonary reserves, are at greater risk for both postoperative mechanical ventilation and multi-organ failure, and intraoperative pressure injuries. [Miller (online)]