Elderly trauma care is challenging owing to the unique physiology and comorbidities prevalent in this population. To improve the care of these patients, two practice management guidelines (PMGs) were implemented: high-risk geriatric protocol (HRGP), which triages patients based on injury patterns and comorbid conditions for occult hypotension, and the anticoagulation and trauma (ACT) alert, which is designed to streamline the care of geriatric trauma patients on anticoagulants. We hypothesized that both HRGP and ACT would decrease mortality and complications in geriatric trauma patients.
Geriatric blunt trauma patients (aged ≥65) presenting to our Level II center from January 2000 to July 2016 were extracted from the trauma registry. Do-not-resuscitate patients were excluded. The study period was divided into three phases: Phase 1, no PMGs in place (2000 to January 2006); Phase 2, HRGP only (February 2006 to February 2012); and Phase 3, HRGP + ACT (March 2012 to July 2016). Multivariate logistic regression models assessed adjusted mortality and complications during these phases to quantify the impact of these protocols. Statistical significance was set at p < 0.05.
A total of 8,471 geriatric trauma patients met inclusion criteria. Overall mortality rate was 5.6% (Phase 1, 7.2%; Phase 2, 6.1%; Phase 3, 4.0%). No significant change in mortality was observed during Phase 2 with the HRGP only (adjusted odds ratio (OR), 0.98; 95% confidence interval, 0.73–1.34; p = 0.957); however, a significantly reduced OR of mortality was found during Phase 3 with the combination of both the HRGP and ACT (adjusted OR, 0.67; 95% confidence interval, 0.47–0.94; p = 0.021). No significant changes in incidence of complications was observed over the study duration.
Geriatric trauma patients are not simply older adults. Improved outcomes can be realized with specific PMGs tailored to the geriatric trauma patients’ needs.
LEVEL OF EVIDENCE
Epidemiologic study, level III.