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Original Article
May 16, 2011

Factors Associated With Trauma Center Use for Elderly Patients With Trauma: A Statewide Analysis, 1999-2008

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Department of Emergency Medicine (Dr Hsia), Department of Medicine, Division of General Internal Medicine (Dr P[[eacute]]rez-Stable), and Department of Medicine, Division of Hospital Medicine (Dr Auerbach), University of California, San Francisco, and Department of Surgery, Division of Emergency Medicine (Dr Wang), and Center for Health Policy and Center for Primary Care Outcomes Research (Ms Saynina and Dr Wise), Stanford University, Stanford, California.

Arch Surg. 2011;146(5):585-592. doi:10.1001/archsurg.2010.311

As the US population ages, elderly persons account for an increasing number of trauma patients. Morbidity and mortality from traumatic injury are higher in elderly patients compared with younger patients.1,2 It is well known that the care found in trauma centers benefits appropriately triaged patients3-6 and is reserved for the most severely injured patients.7

Early studies suggest that elderly patients may be less likely to be admitted to a trauma center after an injury than are younger patients.8,9 Decreased referral to trauma centers may be related to a lack of referral centers, but elderly patients would not be affected disproportionately if this were the case. Alternatively, decreased referral may result because standard trauma triage criteria are inappropriate or less accurate in older patients.10-14