Injury, 1999, Vol.30(6), pp.431-437
There is a paucity of large cohort studies that address outcomes after acute orthopaedic trauma. The regional trauma registry is a powerful tool to study trends of large populations over long periods of time. We used such a regional trauma registry to review retrospectively a large subset of orthopaedic trauma patients over a long period of time and to evaluate the relationship between initial presentation, hospital course, hospital charges, and outcomes as a function of age. A retrospective review of 130,506 level I and II trauma admissions with acute orthopaedic injuries over 10 years (1985-1995) was conducted. Aggregate data were analyzed among five age groups. Descriptive analyses were conducted for mechanism of injury, mortality, time to death, injury type, injury severity score (ISS), Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) on presentation, length of stay (LOS), discharge destination, and hospital charges. Forty-six percent of the patients were in the 18-35-year-old age group; however, 21% of all patients were older than 65 years of age at the time of injury. There were no differences in GCS or ISS on admission. Injury types were similar across all age groups, mostly extremity fractures. Younger patients were much more likely to be injured in a motor vehicle accident (MVA), whereas older patients were injured in a fall. Penetrating trauma was seen almost exclusively in the young. LOS in the hospital was longer in the elderly; however, LOS in the intensive care units were similar across all age groups. Time to death from initial presentation differed across age groups. Elderly patients who eventually died were much more likely to survive more than 24 h in the hospital as compared with young patients. Hospital charges per hospitalization increased with age, although the total charges to the youngest age group were higher due to the group's high volume. Younger American trauma patients with acute orthopaedic injuries are much more likely than their older counterparts to sustain penetrating trauma and pass the socioeconomic burden to society by way of large opportunity costs, lack of insurance, and high rates of recidivism. Elderly patients fared as well as younger patients after acute orthopaedic trauma, although their hospital stays were longer and resulted in increased hospital charges. The excessive costs of trauma, $100 billion and more than 150,000 deaths annually, necessitate study of general population trends. Indirect costs, including rehabilitation costs and opportunity costs, as well as direct costs, are incurred during the post-trauma hospitalization. Attention must focus on prevention of penetrating injuries in the young and falls in the elderly to reduce morbidity, mortality, and the costs of trauma.
Fractures, Bone -- Epidemiology;
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