Traumatic brain injuries in older adults—6 years of data for one UK trauma centre: retrospective analysis of prospectively collected data

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Abstract

Objectives

Our aim was to determine the incidence of traumatic brain injury (TBI) in older adults and investigate the relationship between injury characteristics and outcomes.

Methods

Retrospective analysis of prospectively collected data submitted to Trauma Audit and Research Network (TARN) database for a major trauma centre in the West Midlands, UK, from 2008 to 2014. The Mayo Scale was used to categorise TBI. All patients were aged ≥65 years and were admitted with head or brain injuries meeting TARN inclusion criteria: injury resulting in immediate admission to hospital for 3 days, admitted to a high dependency area or death following trauma. We determined age, gender, mechanism of injury, Injury Severity Score, presenting Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) and Mayo Score, and the association of outcome (Glasgow Outcome Scale (GOS)) with age and clinical presentation.

Results

4413 patients were admitted with trauma meeting TARN criteria: 1389 were ≥65 years and 45% (624) had TBI. For patients ≥65 years with TBI, mean age was 79 (range 65–99); 56% were men. Falls accounted for 85% of all TBIs. Most TBIs were moderate/severe (80%) by the Mayo criteria. Of the 279 patients with subdural haematoma, 28% had neurosurgery. Most patients survived TBI (78%); 57% had a good outcome on GOS at discharge (not requiring care package). Mortality was associated with increased age (17% in ages 65–74 years, 19% in 75–84 years, 30% in ≥85 years, p=0.03). Outcome was significantly associated with injury severity (p=0.0001).

Conclusions

Patients with TBI represented 45% of all trauma cases meeting TARN inclusion criteria. Falls at home accounted for most TBIs. Most had moderate/severe TBI, yet over half made a good recovery on GOS. Our data indicate that injury prevention initiatives should focus on home safety. Further research is needed to examine rehabilitation and follow-up after hospital discharge.

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