Outcomes of trauma care at centers treating a higher proportion of older patients: the case for geriatric trauma centers

J Trauma Acute Care Surg. 2015 Apr;78(4):852-9. doi: 10.1097/TA.0000000000000557.


Background: The burden of injury among older patients continues to grow and accounts for a disproportionate number of trauma deaths. We wished to determine if older trauma patients have better outcomes at centers that manage a higher proportion of older trauma patients.

Methods: The National Trauma Data Bank years 2007 to 2011 was used. All high-volume Level 1 and Level 2 trauma centers were included. Trauma centers were categorized by the proportion of older patients seen. Adult trauma patients were categorized as older (≥65 years) and younger adults (16-64 years). Coarsened exact matching was used to determine differences in mortality and length of stay between older and younger adults. Risk-adjusted mortality ratios by proportion of older trauma patients seen were analyzed using multivariate logistic regression models and observed-expected ratios.

Results: A total of 1.9 million patients from 295 centers were included. Older patients accounted for one fourth of trauma visits. Matched analysis revealed that older trauma patients were 4.2 times (95% confidence interval, 3.99-4.50) more likely to die than younger patients. Older patients were 34% less likely to die if they presented at centers treating a high versus low proportion of older trauma (odds ratio, 0.66; 95% confidence interval, 0.54-0.81). These differences were independent of trauma center performance.

Conclusion: Geriatric trauma patients treated at centers that manage a higher proportion of older patients have improved outcomes. This evidence supports the potential advantage of treating older trauma patients at centers specializing in geriatric trauma.

Level of evidence: Prognostic and epidemiologic study, level III.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Databases, Factual
  • Female
  • Geriatric Assessment
  • Health Services for the Aged / statistics & numerical data*
  • Hospital Mortality
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay / statistics & numerical data
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care*
  • Trauma Centers*