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Minerva Anestesiologica 2011 June;77(6):592-7


language: English

Age-related differences in mechanism, cause, and location of trauma deaths

Meisler R. 1, Thomsen A. B. 1, Theilade P. 2, Abildstrøm H. 3, Borge P. 4, Treschow M. 5, Korsgaard G. M. 6, Rasmussen S. W. 7, Bødtker S. 8, Sylvest A. 9, Rasmussen L. S. 1

1 Department of Anesthesia, Center of Head and Orthopedics, Copenhagen University Hospital, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark; 2 Institute of Forensic Medicine, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark; 3 Department of Anesthesia, Hillerød Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark; 4 Department of Anesthesia, Slagelse Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark; 5 Department of Anesthesia, Nykøbing F Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark; 6 Department of Orthopedics, Gentofte Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark; 7 Department of Orthopedics, Bispebjerg Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark; 8 Department of Orthopedics, Herlev Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark; 9Department of Orthopedics, Amager Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark


BACKGROUND:Trauma death has traditionally been described as primarily occurring in young men exposed to penetrating trauma or road traffic accidents. The epidemiology of trauma fatalities in Europe may change as a result of the increasing proportion of elderly patients. The goal of this study was to describe age-related differences in trauma type, mechanism, cause and location of death in a well-defined European region.
METHODS: We prospectively registered all trauma patients and severe burn patients in eastern Denmark over 12 consecutive months. We analyzed all trauma fatalities in our region regarding the trauma type, mechanism, cause and location of death.
RESULTS:A total of 2,923 patients were registered, of which 292 (9.9%) died within 30 days. Mortality increased with age, with a mortality of 46.1% in patients older than 80 years old. Blunt trauma was the most frequent trauma type at all ages, but the trauma mechanism differed among ages, with falls constituting 46.8% of trauma deaths in the elderly. The primary cause of death was head and spine injuries across all age-groups. Death took place before arrival at the hospital in 45% of the cases, but death during primary admission became increasingly important with advanced age.
CONCLUSION:Increasing age was associated with higher mortality, an increased proportion of falls and fatal head or spine injuries.

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