Acute head injuries in the elderly. An analysis of 136 consecutive patients

Acta Neurochir (Wien). 1992;118(3-4):98-102. doi: 10.1007/BF01401293.


136 patients older than 70 years, admitted to our neurosurgical ward directly after head trauma, were analysed. 40% of them were admitted with low GCS, below 9 points, and showed a mortality of 85%. 45 patients had intracranial mass lesions--the commonest was subdural haematoma, with a low incidence of epidural haematomas. In patients admitted with GCS above 12, mortality was 20%, mainly due to pneumonia. Satisfactory results were achieved in 30% of trauma victims. From patients with intracranial space occupying lesions and GCS below 9 points on admission practically all died, despite aggressive surgical treatment and intensive care. Thus, especially in departments with limited resources, therapy can be limited, or even no therapy may be introduced in this group. Surgical treatment can be limited only to patients who are conscious on admission. In patients with non-surgical lesions, low GCS--below 9 points--leads to mortality of 80%, and in this group we propose aggressive intensive care for 24 hours and the limitation of further "maximal" therapy only to those, who significantly improve within this period of time. If the patient has a non-surgical lesion and is conscious after trauma, aggressive treatment of extracranial complication is the most important, because brain injury can usually be well tolerated by these patients. If pneumonia or heart complications do not occur this group of old patients often have a good prognosis.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Brain Injuries / mortality
  • Brain Injuries / surgery*
  • Female
  • Glasgow Coma Scale*
  • Hematoma, Subdural / mortality
  • Hematoma, Subdural / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Multiple Trauma / mortality
  • Multiple Trauma / surgery
  • Postoperative Complications / mortality*
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Factors
  • Survival Rate