Geriatric trauma

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Abstract

Purpose of review

The landscape of trauma is changing due to an aging population. Geriatric patients represent an increasing number and proportion of trauma admissions and deaths. This review explores recent literature on geriatric trauma, including triage criteria, assessment of frailty, fall-related injury, treatment of head injury complicated by coagulopathy, goals of care, and the need for ongoing education of all surgeons in the care of the elderly.

Recent findings

Early identification of high-risk geriatric patients is imperative to initiate early resuscitative efforts. Geriatric patients are typically undertriaged because of their baseline frailty being underappreciated; however, centers that see more geriatric patients do better. Rapid reversal of anticoagulation is important in preventing progression of brain injury. Anticipation of difficult disposition necessitates early involvement of physical therapy for rehabilitation and case management for appropriate placement.

Summary

Optimal care of geriatric trauma patients will be based on the well established tenets of trauma resuscitation and injury repair, but with distinct elements that address the physiological and anatomical challenges presented by geriatric patients.

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