Implementation of a Rib Fracture Triage Protocol in Elderly Trauma Patients

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Elderly patients are highly susceptible to rib fractures after trauma. The use of a clinical pathway to determine resource allocation for patients with rib fractures has resulted in positive treatment outcomes. This retrospective study assessed the efficacy of a triage protocol involving trauma services on hospital length of stay in elderly patients with fractured ribs. Patients who had 3 or more ribs fractured experienced a statistically significant reduction in hospital length of stay after protocol implementation. We conclude that elderly patients with 3 or more rib fractures should be systematically referred to a trauma specialist.

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