Trauma in the geriatric patient

Christopher R. Carpenter, Peter L. Rosen

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

6 Scopus citations


This chapter presents a case of a 75-year-old man who brought to the emergency department (ED) after a standing level fall. Standing level falls and motor vehicle accidents (MVAs) are the most common mechanisms of trauma. Geriatric adults presently represent 23% of trauma admissions, and traumatic injury is the fifth leading cause of death in this age group. The most common injuries in undertriaged geriatric trauma patients are brain injuries and thoracic fractures. Many older adults are prescribed anticoagulation therapy for atrial fibrillation. A history of a fall or the presence of neurological findings predicts an abnormal computed tomography (CT) scan in confused geriatric patients with a traumatic head injury. All elderly patients with three or more acute rib fractures warrant admission for pain management and respiratory therapy. They should have an electrocardiogram (EKG) and a chest X-ray study, with further imaging dependent upon the mechanism of injury.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGeriatric Emergencies
Subtitle of host publicationA Discussion-based Review
PublisherWiley Blackwell
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)9781118753262
ISBN (Print)9781118753347
StatePublished - May 31 2016


  • Anticoagulation therapy
  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Cervical spine injuries
  • Computed tomography scan
  • Electrocardiogram
  • Geriatric trauma patients
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Pain management
  • Standing level falls
  • Traumatic head injury


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