Mortality in elderly injured patients: the role of comorbidities

Int J Inj Contr Saf Promot. 2008 Mar;15(1):25-31. doi: 10.1080/17457300701800118.


Home injuries in older people are an important cause of morbidity, disability and death. In addition, the presence of a pre-existing disease has generally been shown to be associated with higher mortality in this population. The objective of the study was to evaluate the association between pre-existing chronic conditions and risk of death among older trauma patients. A retrospective study was conducted in the Lazio Region, including the city of Rome. The study included all the people aged 65 years or older who were admitted to emergency departments in the year 2000 for home or road injuries, which was followed by hospitalisation within 24 hours. Comorbidities are quantified according to the Charlson Comorbidity Index (CCI). The outcome of interest was 30-day mortality. To measure the association between comorbidities and the probability of death, logistic regression was used, adjusting for triage code, sex, age and place of injury. An analysis stratified by triage was also performed. It was found that 17.9% of the injured subjects (8145) were affected by one or more chronic conditions. The probability of death was higher among males, older people, more severe patients and in cases of home accident. Risk of death for non-urgent and urgent patients increased with the increasing of the CCI score. Mortality among very urgent injured elderly was not affected by the presence of chronic conditions. It was concluded that chronic conditions are strong determinants of mortality, particularly for mild injuries.

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Home / mortality*
  • Accidents, Traffic / mortality*
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Chronic Disease
  • Comorbidity*
  • Female
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Injury Severity Score
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Odds Ratio
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Rome / epidemiology
  • Wounds and Injuries / mortality*