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Implementation of a Rib Fracture Triage Protocol in Elderly Trauma Patients

Sahr, Sheryl M. MD; Webb, Michael L. MD; Renner, Catherine Hackett PhD; Sokol, Rachael K. DO; Swegle, James R. MD, FACS

doi: 10.1097/JTN.0000000000000008
Research

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.

Division of Trauma Services, Department of Surgery, UnityPoint Health–Des Moines and The Iowa Clinic (Dr Sahr), Department of Surgery, UnityPoint Health–Des Moines (Dr Webb), Office of Research, UnityPoint Health–Des Moines (Dr Renner), Department of Emergency Medicine, UnityPoint Health–Des Moines and Health System Emergency Physicians (Dr Sokol), and Division of Trauma Services, Department of Surgery, UnityPoint Health–Des Moines and The Iowa Clinic (Dr Swegle), Des Moines, Iowa.

Correspondence: Catherine Hackett Renner, PhD, Office of Research, UnityPoint Health–Des Moines, 1415 Woodland Ave, Des Moines, IA 50309 (Catherine.renner@unitypoint.org).

The authors do not have any conflicts of interest or sources of external funding.

Copyright © 2013 by the Society of Trauma Nurses.