Pelvic fracture in the elderly is associated with increased mortality


      Objective. The elderly population is currently the fastest growing sector in America. The purpose of this study was to examine the age-related outcome in patients after blunt pelvic injury. Methods. All patients admitted with a pelvic fracture during a 5-year period were identified from the trauma registry. Data retrieval included: demographics, shock (BP < 90 mm Hg) on admission, injury severity score (ISS), abbreviated injury score (AIS) for head, chest, and abdomen, intensive care unit (ICU) length of stay (LOS), hospital LOS, and mortality. All pelvic fracture patterns were classified. Patient data were then stratified by age for comparison: young (< 55 years) and elderly (≥ 55 years). Statistical analysis was performed using the Student t test, Wilcoxon rank-sum test, multiple logistic regression analysis, and chi-square test with significance set at P <.05. Results. Three hundred five patients sustained a pelvic fracture (young [n = 248, 81.3%]; elderly [n = 57, 18.7%]). The only predictor of mortality was age. The 2 groups differed by gender (elderly = 54.4% females; young = 62.5% males) but not frequency of shock, ISS, or AIS for head, chest, and abdomen. Motor vehicle collision was the most common mechanism of injury (elderly = 68.4%; young = 73.8%). Lateral compression was the most common fracture pattern in both groups (elderly = 54.4%; young = 45.6%). There was no difference in transfusion (elderly = 2.5 ± 0.7 vs young = 2.0 ± 0.3; ns) but the elderly group was more frequently admitted to the ICU (elderly = 61.4% vs young = 46.8%; P =.065). Significantly more of the elderly group had a diagnosis of cardiovascular disease (43.9% vs 10.1%, P <.001) and diabetes mellitus (10.5% vs 2.4%, P <.014). Mortality was significantly greater in the elderly group (12.3% vs 2.3%). Conclusion. Elderly patients sustaining a pelvic fracture were more likely to have a lateral compression fracture pattern, longer hospital LOS, and die despite aggressive resuscitation. This difference in outcome should help trauma surgeons recognize that the elderly patient sustaining a pelvic fracture is at increased risk of death. (Surgery 2002;132:710-5.)
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